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Full text of "The storm of London: a social rhapsody"

The Storm 
of London 



THE STORM_OF LONDON 

KINDLY READ THESE REVIEWS 

"' Clothes,' said Carlyle, 'gave us individuality, distinctions, 
social polity ; Clothes have made men of us ; they are threatening 
to make Clothes-screens of us." This truth has been developed in an 
audacious manner by the author, who is not lacking in sarcasm and 
humour, and in a lucky moment of inspiration he has produced a 
book which will find hosts of readers for its originality, will be a 
topic of the moment for its daring, and will demand more permanent 
recognition for the truths which it unveils." St James's Gazette. 

"A book which is as amusing as it is audacious in its pictures of 
Society compelled to adopt the primitive attire of an Edenic age." 
Truth. 

" London is turned into a huge Eden peopled with Adams and 
Eves in all the pristine simplicity of the altogether nude." 
A lerdeen Journal. 

" Any amount of wit and literary skill . . . the audacity of such 
a literary enterprise." Scotsman. 

"A perfect saturnalia of nudity." Glasgow Herald. 

" Everybody should read this uncommon and curiously persuasive 
fiction, that by the aid of realism, humour, and of wistful fancy, 
conveys an impression not likely to be quickly lost." Dundee 
Advertiser. 

" Clever work." Times. (First Notice.) 

" Daringly original." Outlook. (First Notice.) 

"The author is at once bold and restrained in his picture of a 
London entirely deprived of clothes." T. P.'s Weekly. 

"A daring idea . . . a book which should have many readers." 
Daily Mirror. 

"The shocks and complications that ensue should appeal to all 
lovers of fiction." Pall Mall Gazette. (First Notice.) 

" The author has written an extraordinary book, daring and 
remarkable." Daily Express. 

"A daring theme treated with admirable discretion. The story 
is singularly well told." Birmingham Gazette. 

" Everybody is in a state of nudity, and the developments are 
interesting as all England is in the same interesting predicament. 
The book is distinctly peculiar, and the writer may be congratulated 
on his development of Carlyle's speculations upon the state of 
Society rendered clothesless." Bristol Times &> Mirror. 

"Truly original and amusing." Bookseller. 

"Very clever; smartly conceived and ably written." Western 
Daily Mercury. 

"A clever variation of the theme of Sartor Resartus." 
Bystander. 

" We have seldom perused a more fascinating book ; a most 
daring idea, most capably worked out. It is a book that no one 
should miss." 'Varsity. 

" The idea is certainly original, the book is selling wildly, critics 
praise it ... one of the books of the season." Hearth &> Home. 

JOHN LONG, PUBLISHER, LONDON 



The 



Storm of London 



H Social 



By 

F. Dickberry 



"Clothes gave us individuality, distinctions, social polity; Clothes have 
made men of us; they are threatening to make Clothes-screens of us." 
CARLYLE'S Sartor Resartus. 




SE VENTH EDITION 



London 

John Long 

13 & 14 Norris Street, Haymarket 

[All Rights Reserved] 






y 



First published in 1904 




6007 
I33S7 



2>e&fcate> 

TO 

M. E. H. 



THE STORM OF LONDON 



CHAPTER I 

THE Earl of Somerville was coming out of the 
Agricultural Hall and just stepping into his 
brougham, when a few drops of rain began to 
fall and a distant clap of thunder was heard. 
But it would no doubt be over in a few minutes ; 
only a passing shower which would dispel the 
clouds, clear the leaden atmosphere, and in no 
way interfere with the midnight picnic to which 
Lord Somerville was going. 

The day had been oppressively hot, and although 
it was only the second of May, one might have 
easily believed it to be the month of July. It 
was fortunate, for several entertainments were 
organised in that early period of the London 
Season theatricals and bazaars, private and 
public, were announced for every day of the 
first weeks in May, for the benefit of soldiers' 
widows, East-End sufferers and West-End 
vanities. In fact, never had Londoners' hearts 
beaten more passionately for the sorrows and 

7 



The Storm of London 

miseries of their fellow-creatures than at the 
present moment ; and it would have been a pity 
had the charitable efforts of Society leaders been 
chilled by cutting east winds or drenching down- 
pours of rain. The picnic to which the Earl 
was going, was to be held in Richmond Park, by 
torchlight, between midnight and the early hours 
of the morning. All Society was to be there. 
The Duchess of Southdown was to take a 
prominent part in the entertainment. Object 
lessons in rat catching were to be the chief 
attraction, as fashionable women had been chosen 
to take the parts of the rats, and to be chased, 
hunted, and finally caught by smart men of 
Society. Great fun was expected from this novel 
game, and the Upper Ten looked forward to that 
picnic with excitement. Before this nocturnal 
episode, there was to be a Tournament at 
Islington's Agricultural Hall. " London, by Day 
and by Night," was to be represented, in all its 
graphic aspects, by amateur artists of the Upper 
Ten, who were always ready to give their services 
for such a good cause as the S.P.G. But then 
Society is invariably ready to enter the lists where 
combatants fight for a noble cause, and it is 
never seen to shirk ridicule or notoriety, but on 
the contrary to expose the inefficiencies of its 
members to the gaping eyes of an ignorant 
public. 

8 



The Storm of London 

"By God!" exclaimed Lord Somerville as he 
leaned back on the cushions of his brougham, " I 
never realised the brutal ferocity of London life 
until I saw its nocturnal Bacchanals synthesised 
within so many square feet." 

He passed in review, in his mind's eye, what 
he had seen : Lady Carlton in the leading part of 
the wildest of street rovers, cigarette in her mouth, 
reeling from one side of the pavement to the 
other, nudging this one, thrusting her cigarette 
under the nose of another, pulling the beard of 
a stolid policeman, vociferating at the cab drivers. 
Lord Somerville had seen a good deal of what these 
women were trying to impersonate, but he never 
remembered having blushed so deeply, nor of 
having been so conscious of shame, as he felt 
that night. But this was only the beginning of 
the show. The last tableau was most striking. 
The front of the houses, represented by painted 
scenery, suddenly rolled off as by enchantment, 
and there, in view of a breathless public, were 
to be seen the interiors of gambling houses, 
massage establishments, night clubs you can 
guess the rest ! This final scene was all 
pantomimic, and although not one word was 
spoken, still, the despair of the man who sees his 
gold raked away on the green baize, the heart- 
rending bargains of human flesh for a few 
hours of oblivion, were vivid pictures which left 

9 



The Storm of London 

very few shreds of illusions in the minds of a 
dumbfounded audience. Then came the grand 
finale of hurry and skurry between the police and 
the gamblers and night revellers of all sorts ; 
and this was a triumph of mise-en-scene and 
animation. To make it still more realistic, the 
Countess of Lundy had elected to appear in a 
night wrap, as two constables made a raid on 
the so-called massage establishment. But what a 
night wrap ! The Earl smiled as he recalled 
the masterpiece in which Doucet of Paris had 
surpassed himself, revealing with subtle sug- 
gestiveness the lissome shape of arms and legs, 
and full curves of the breast through a foam of 
white lace and chiffon. As he sat in the darkness 
of his brougham, he closed his eyes and saw 
the Countess as she had stood in front of the 
footlights, unblushingly courting the approval 
of her public ; and he still heard in his ears the 
furious applause of London Society gathered 
that night in Islington Hall. What had most 
struck this leader of fashion was the total 
ignorance in which one class of well-fed, well- 
protected human beings lived of all miseries that 
unshielded thousands have to bear. He thought 
of the many women on whom he daily called, 
dined with, joked with ; how many possessed 
that ferocious glance of the pleasure-seeker, the 
audacious stare of the flesh hunter ; but he had 

10 ' 



The Storm of London 

never noticed in any of these fearless women of his 
world the slightest slackening of tyranny, nor 
had he ever noticed, for one moment even, the 
pathetic humility of the hunted-down street 
angler, which is after all her one redeeming 
feature in that erotic tragedy. 

Evidently the performance had been a decided 
success, and would doubtless be a pecuniary 
triumph. The Bishop of Sunbury, seated near the 
Earl at the show, had largely expatiated on the 
good of rummaging into the puddle of London 
sewers, as he called it in his clerical language. It 
was by diving deep into the mud that one could 
drag out one's erring brothers and sisters, and by 
bringing London face to face with its social pro- 
blems one was able to grapple with the enemy sin. 
At least, so thought the Bishop, and he endeavoured 
to persuade the Earl, which was a more difficult 
task than he believed. The prelate, holding Lord 
Somerville by one of his waistcoat buttons, had tried 
to make him appreciate Society's unselfishness. 
" My dear Lord Somerville, we hear all about the 
frivolity of our privileged classes ; much is said 
against them too much, I fear, is written against 
the callousness of fashionable women ; but I assure 
you, it is unjust. Many of these sisters of ours, who 
have to-night moved the public to enthusiasm, have 
themselves their burden to bear, and many have wept 
bitter tears over some lost one in Africa. Well, to 

ii 



The Storm of London 

quote one of them : as you know, the Countess 
of Lundy who personified the matron of one of 
these disgraceful establishments has last week 
lost her cherished brother (poor fellow, he died of 
wounds) ; but there you see her at her post of duty." 

" More shame on her," had murmured the Earl, 
but the Bishop did not hear, or would not, and 
had walked away. 

" By God ! "and the Earl brought down his fist 
on his knee "these women have made me see to 
what depth a woman can sink. And I am going 
to another of these exhibitions I am heartily sick 
of it all." As he was putting down a window to 
tell his coachman to turn back to Selby House, the 
brougham suddenly stopped, and a torrent of rain 
came through the open window. 

" By Jove, Marshall, it is pouring." 

" My lord, I cannot get along. We've reached 
Barnes, but the wind and rain is that strong, the 
'orses won't face it." 

"Turn back by all means. The picnic could 
not take place in such a storm." And he closed 
the window, laughing heartily at Society's disap- 
pointment. 

" Well, they are defrauded of their new game, 
and I am spared another display of female de- 
gradation." 

Whether it was owing to the violence of the 
storm, or to the morbidness into which the last 
12 



The Storm of London 

performance had thrown him, is difficult to tell, 
but Lord Somerville was in a despondent mood 
and on the brink of mental collapse, and as they 
are wont in such cases, visions of his past life kept 
passing to and fro before his half-closed eyes. He 
was going home! In any case it was better than 
this infernal comedy of fun and pleasure which 
invariably ended in gloom and disgust. His home 
was loneliness made noisy. He lived alone in that 
palatial mansion in Mayfair ; but solitary his life 
had not been, since his father had left him heir to 
all sorts of properties, privileges and prejudices. 
His house had ever since been invaded by men 
and women of all descriptions. Some were 
morning callers, some afternoon ones ; these were 
the dowagers and respectable members of the 
Upper Ten who accepted his invitations to a cup 
of tea, and made it a pretext to submit to his 
inspection some human goods for sale. The others 
were night visitors, and easily dealt with, for their 
business was direct and personal. Men found him 
unsatisfactory, for he objected to being made use 
of, was inaccessible to flattery, and steadily re- 
buked all attempts at familiarity. He never showed 
himself ungallant towards the fair sex, but on the 
contrary was liberal and even grateful for all he 
received ; in fact he was thoroughly just and 
business-like in the market-place of life, and 
treated his visitors well, whether they were guests 

13 



The Storm of London 

from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m., or carousers from 10 p.m. 
to 8 a.m. One thing he strongly disliked, that was 
any man or woman peeping at a corner of his 
heart. He often thought he had none, for it had 
never yet been in request in all his business 
transactions with Society. Although he had 
paddled in all the filthy sewers of London and 
foreign capitals, he somehow had a knack of 
brushing himself clean of all outward grime ; but 
what he never had been able to get rid of was a 
nasty flavour which clung to his lips, and which no 
woman's kiss could ever take away, nor any 
Havana cigar dispel. That mephitic taste of life 
was always on his lips, and to-night it was more 
deadly bitter than ever. Perhaps the flavour 
became more noxious as before his mind's eye 
passed the vision of Gwendolen Towerbridge, 
the famous Society beauty. Not only did he 
thoroughly dislike the girl, but his pride was 
sorely wounded at having been caught by her. 
Yes, he was engaged what the world called 
engaged to her. How did it happen ? Ah ! Few 
men could really tell how they had been captured. 
A supper, the top of a coach when returning late 
from the races ; sometimes even less than that : a 
glass of champagne too many, or a bodice cut too 
low. These certainly were not important primal 
causes, but they often were found to be at the 
fountain-head of many family disasters. The 
14 



The Storm of London 

women he had known were divided into two 
classes : the one that had run the social race, won 
the prize, and who certainly looked the worse for 
the course, mentally sweating, and in dire need of a 
vigorous sponge down ; and the other that started 
for the post, all aglow with the desire to win at any 
cost and whatever the means, foul or fair, for a 
little cheating was encouraged, and often practised, 
on the Turf. 

How many more seasons would he have to 
stand there and watch the ebb and flow of the 
feminine tide ? He had for such a long time felt 
on his brow the breath of the mare as she galloped 
past him ; and he had too often heard the feverish 
snort of the winner as she came back, led by her 
master's groom. He knew no others. Perhaps 
a country lass, purely brought up by Christian 
parents, would modestly wait on a stile until she 
was won ; but that girl would have no repartie, 
and would look mystified at a problem play. No 
doubt, in the suburbs there existed women whose 
sole ambition was to help a life companion in 
the search of true happiness, who padded the 
monotonous life of some City clerk who regularly 
came back by the 6.15 train, bringing home Tit- 
Bits for the evening recreation, and Home Chat for 
household requirements. Bah ! that woman never 
could analyse the psychology of cookery, and 
besides, she was not a lady. He was an epicure in 
15 



The Storm of London 

the culinary art, and thirsted for something he had 
not yet met with : a lady who would be a perfect 
woman. Then came the war; and he longed to 
escape the routine of London life and Gwendolen's 
incessant requests for presents: he started for 
South Africa, hoping to lose there the nasty taste 
that was forever on his lips. Gwendolen soon 
followed, escorted by some of her friends and their 
numerous trunks. New frocks were shaken out, 
bonnets were twisted back into their original 
shapes, and an improvised season was inaugurated 
in one of the South African towns, to the utter 
disgust of her fiance, who, having been wounded, 
had the misfortune of seeing her parade daily 
round his bed. The sights he witnessed sickened 
him unto death ; the amalgam of frivolity and 
callousness seemed to him more irrelevant in that 
new country, and the physical excitement and 
interest of danger having worn itself off, he very 
soon realised that the old game of war must 
necessarily be played out in a civilisation that 
boasts of commercial supremacy, and whose 
scientific discoveries are daily endeavouring to 
bring nations nearer to one another. He returned 
to England on sick leave, more embittered than 
heretofore with Gwendolen, London, and himself. 
He frequently sat at twilight in his large library 
at Selby House, wondering whether this was all a 
fellow could do with his life, and whether the 
16 



The Storm of London 

other side was not more entertaining than this 
rotten old stage? To-night, as he drove in his 
carriage, listening to the crashing of the thunder, 
every event of his life came back to him in strong 
relief and vivid colours, and the prospect of joining 
in holy matrimony with Gwendolen seemed more 
than he could bear. Perhaps the taste of death 
that he so nearly met with in Africa came to him 
at this hour of night, when all the elements were 
at war against man ; and he came to the conclusion 
that he was not obliged to submit to life's plati- 
tudes any longer. A gentleman should always 
quit a card table when he has been cheated. Life 
had cheated him, and he resolved to leave life. 
The other side of Acheron could not be a worse 
fraud than this ; besides, he knew all about this 
world, there was nothing that could astonish him 
any more, nor keep his attention riveted for more 
than five minutes. Why not try the experiment? 
If it were complete oblivion, so much the better, 
he did not object to a long sleep out of which he 
would never wake. If it were, as so many de- 
clared, eternal punishment well, the retribution 
could never, in all its black horror, be any worse 
than the gnawing heartache of the life in which we 
were chained. 

The brougham rolled on, and very soon Lord 
Somerville knew he was in the heart of London. 
The streets were flooded, passengers were rushing 
B 17 



The Storm of London 

along, in vain trying to get into omnibuses or 
hansoms ; shouting, whistling, rent the damp atmo- 
sphere, competing with claps of thunder which 
at times alarmed the inhabitants, especially when 
the electric lights suddenly went out and 
Londoners were plunged for a few minutes into 
utter darkness. Lord Somerville could not re- 
member having ever witnessed such a thunder- 
storm in town ; still, he welcomed its magnitude 
with joy, for it was the proper accompaniment to 
his frenzy against an inadequate state of Society. 
The wheels turned the corner of Piccadilly and 
Park Lane, not without risk, for the obscurity was 
dangerous, and in a few seconds the carriage 
halted before his stately mansion ; he opened the 
door, jumped out, and went into the house without 
turning round to give orders for next day to his 
coachman. This seemed peculiar to the servant, 
as he knew my lord to be very methodical in all 
that concerned his household. 

The Earl entered his library, and after lighting 
a few electric lights, which were only now throwing 
a dim and lurid light into the large room, he sank 
down into a huge armchair. It was very quiet in 
that room ; double doors and double windows 
shut out the noise of the splashing rain against 
the window-panes, the thunder even was less 
violent in this well-padded room, and the light- 
ning could not pierce through the shutters and the 
18 



The Storm of London 

thick brocaded draperies. After the fracas of the 
streets, it seemed to him as if he had already 
entered the Valley of Death as he sat in this silent 
place. The picture of his late father was hanging 
on the panel in front of him, and he looked at it 
for a considerable time. What could that face 
tell him at this critical hour, when for long years 
of his time he had never found one convincing 
argument with which to enlighten his son on all 
the grave problems of existence? It was always 
the same answers to the same inquiries : " My 
boy, others have gone through life besides yourself, 
and found it no worse than I have. Don't think 
too hard, leave that to those who have to use 
their brains for a livelihood. You have a bed 
ready made to lie on, do not complain that it is too 
soft ; but do not forget that you are a gentleman, 
and that when you have passed a few turnpikes 
of life let us say, Eton, Oxford, the War or the 
Foreign Office you can do whatever you like, for 
you are then innocuous ; and no one, not even the 
most Argus-eyed dowager, will consider you 
dangerous, however wild your mode of life may 
be. My advice to you is, never fall into the 
clutches of any woman ; to my mind the sex is 
divided into two dangerous species : the one that 
kill you before they bore you, the other that bore 
you before they kill you. But in either way you 
are a doomed man ; though for myself I should 
19 



The Storm of London 

prefer being killed to being bored and as you 
know, I chose the former." 

Was this all that the aristocratic shape framed 
in front of him could tell him? It was not 
enough. He was too robust to be killed by the 
London Hetaires, and too fastidious to allow 
himself to be bored by the other species. He 
listened, but no sound came from the outside ; the 
walls were too thick, the draperies too rich to allow 
any fracas to disturb the owner of that dwelling. 
He was hermetically shut out from every outward 
commotion, and might have lived in a vault. 
Was not that an image of his privileged life ? All 
things had been so ordained and smoothed down 
in his easy existence that he could see nothing 
beyond his own direct surroundings, and could 
never penetrate into another heart, nor allow any- 
one to hear the throbs of his own heart. That 
was called the privilege of the well-bred, and it 
was all that generations before him had done for 
his welfare : a double-windowed house and a well- 
padded life, out of which he never could step. 
There were barriers at every corner of the road in 
which he had walked. Harrow, Oxford, the 
Guards, Downing Street, watched him, reminding 
him, by the way, that he could prance, kick, roll, 
do anything he had a mind to, within his 
boundary ; and he heard that haunting whisper in 
his wearied ears that, however low he sank he 
20 



The Storm of London 

was a gentleman. But outside the boundary was 
a world called life, with a real, throbbing, howling 
humanity, a pushing and elbowing crowd with 
which he evidently had nothing to do ; out there 
he had no business, for over there people 
answered for themselves, were responsible for 
their own actions, and he would no doubt fare 
badly were he to push and elbow for his own sake, 
independently of all the privileged institutions 
that propped him up through life. He suddenly 
remembered that next day there was a Levee, and 
that he was to be there. No, he would not go, 
he would escape for once, and for good and all, 
these recurring functions of social London which 
seemed to narrow the horizon of life. The best 
was to make a suitable exit and bring down the 
curtain on a Mayfair episode; it would puzzle, 
interest, amuse half of London for the inside of a 
week, and it would be over. He got up and went 
to a large bureau that stood in the middle of the 
room, and began to open drawer after drawer ; 
he brought out some business papers, laid 
them carefully on the bureau, pulled out 
bundles of letters, read a few, burnt a great 
many. Amongst all the correspondence he 
came across there was not one note from 
Gwendolen ; she did not write, she sent wires 
about anything, for an appointment at Ranelagh, 
a bracelet she had seen at Hancock's, or 
21 



The Storm of London 

some more trifling matter ; and even then, she 
hardly sat down to pen these cursory remarks; 
she sent her wires when at breakfast, close to the 
dish of fried bacon, at lunch, at tea, on the corner 
of the silver tray. He opened another drawer and 
took out a revolver ; it was loaded, and he examined 
it minutely. How long had it been in that drawer 
and when had he loaded it ? He could not recall 
when last he had seen the arm. He slowly lifted 
it to his temple and pulled the trigger, as a violent 
clap of thunder shook the house to its very 
foundation, causing the electric lights to go 
out. Lord Somerville fell heavily on the Turkish 
carpet. 



22 



CHAPTER II 

LIONEL SOMERVILLE woke at 8 a.m. in the freshest 
of spirits. All the frenzy of the night before 
had vanished, and as he lay on his bed, smiling, 
he tried to think over what had happened. 

" Did I not kill myself last night ? Anyway, I 
did not succeed, or perhaps it was all a delusion ! 
I must have been in a bad way. It is that 
infernal wound that troubles me; I have never 
been quite myself since I came home. Well ! 
what is the matter with this place? Where are 
the curtains, the carpet ? " Sitting up in his, 
bed he stared all round. " And the blankets, 
sheets oh ! my shirt is gone ! " And as he 
jumped up from the bed on to the bare floor, 
he stood as the Almighty had made him. He 
rushed to the window, saw the streets empty, 
the doors of all the houses closed, and no one 
going in or out of them. After staring out of 
the window he spotted but one boy coming 
along leisurely on his tricycle cart, the butcher's 
boy no doubt; a fit of laughter seized him, 
followed by hilarious convulsions, as he saw 
the water-cart coming across the square, with 
23 



The Storm of London 

its street Neptune indolently reclining on the 
seat. 

" This is funny ! What the devil does it 
mean ? Have these people gone clean mad ? 
Why does not the police stop them ? " 

Lionel left the window and rang the bell. A 
few seconds after there was a gentle knock at 
the door. 

"Yes, my lord." It was the suave voice of 
Temple, my lord's faithful valet. 

" I say, Temple " Lionel spoke through the 
door "what's the meaning of all this?" 

" I cannot tell, my lord. Your lordship's 
bathroom is ready, and breakfast is on the 
table." 

"You must be mad, Temple! How am I to 
get out of this room without my clothes ? Bring 
in something anything a wrap of some sort, a 
bath-rug." 

" Not one to be found, my lord, and all the 
shops are closed." 

" How are you clad, Temple ? " 

" I've nothing on, my lord, and Willows, Mr 
Jacques, are all in the same condition. But I can 
assure your lordship that the morning is very 
hot." 

" And you think that sufficient, do you ? Well, 
I don't ! I am blowed if I can make this out, or 
if I know what I am going to do. Bring me a 
24 



The Storm of London 

tub, a large can of hot water, and later on bring 
me a tray with a couple of eggs and tea. I am 
famished ! " 

Footsteps retreated ; Lionel walked round and 
round his spacious bedroom. Everything was in 
its usual place as far as furniture went, but there 
was not a vestige of drapery or carpeting ; the 
cushions had disappeared, and only the down lay 
on the floor ; the chairs, easy fauteuils, the couch 
were despoiled of all covering and showed their 
bare construction of wood and cane-work. The 
bed was a simple pallet, the rugs had vanished. 
Lionel entered his dressing-room, the cupboards 
were open, and empty, when yesterday they had 
been crammed with all his clothes. The drawers 
were hanging out of their chest empty ; shirts, 
flannels, silk pyjamas, neckties, waistcoats, all the 
arsenal of a young man about town had dissolved 
into thin air. This was more than strange, and 
the Earl became more and more amazed as he 
went on opening boxes, baskets, and gaping at 
the empty receptacles. He again looked out of 
the window his dressing-room had a full view of 
Grosvenor Square and saw many more boys on 
tricycle carts ; several satyr-milkmen were rattling 
their cans down the fashionable areas, and the 
water-cart went on slowly spouting its L.C.C. 
Niagara over dusty roads. The effect was de- 
cidedly comical. He came back to his bedroom, 
25 



The Storm of London 

and once more looked out of the window. Look- 
ing up at the opposite house he saw a form passing 
to and fro. That was Lady Vera's house. Could 
it be she? He smiled. It might be the maid. 
Who knows ? There were few of his lady friends 
he would recognise again in this new garb. After 
his tub and breakfast he felt in buoyant spirits 
and physically fit, although he could not quite 
account for this new mood of his, for nothing had 
altered in his life. He gave a side glance at 
himself in the cheval-glass ; he was always the 
Earl of Somerville, heir to vast riches, engaged to 
Gwendolen Towerbridge, and this joke would pass. 
It was perhaps the new trick of some gang of 
thieves, whom the police would be able to catch 
in a few days. The thing to find out was whether 
it was the same all over London. Temple told 
Lord Somerville, as he brought the breakfast tray 
to the door, that the areas down the streets and 
the square were a bevy of buzzing gossipers. 
Admiral B., who lived two doors off, was in the 
same plight, and was using strong language to his 
poor wife ; and as to Field-Marshal W., whose 
house was in the square, he was beside himself, 
had howled at his man for his pyjamas and sent 
the fellow rolling down the passage for appearing 
in his presence in an Adamitic vestment. Temple 
thought this very unjust, as the Field-Marshal 
was in the same dilemma ; but then Temple had 
26 



The Storm of London 

no sense of the fitness of things, and certainly 
had no sense of humour, as he came to ask his 
master what were his orders for Marshall, the 
coachman. Lionel naturally sent Marshall to 
the devil. 

" Does he think I am going to drive in an open 
Victoria as I am, with him on the box as he is ? " 
And he raved at the poor valet, and asked him 
what they all felt in the housekeeper's room. To 
which Temple replied, that the men did not so 
much mind, and that the women would get used to 
it. They had all their work cut out for them, and 
no time to think about difficult problems. Evi- 
dently it was different with them, and the Earl 
dropped the subject, inquiring whether the Times 
had come. But the postman had not yet arrived. 

" What on earth can I do ? " murmured Lionel. 
Then he thought of sending Temple to get him a 
pile of new French novels to while away the 
tedious hours. By the way, he thought suddenly, 
he would like to know something definite about 
last night's adventure ; he did not like to tell his 
man about his foolish attempt, but if he had seen 
the revolver on the carpet, he was prepared to give 
him some sort of explanation. Temple came back 
saying that every book had disappeared, and gave 
a graphic description of what was once the 
library of my lord. Lionel timidly inquired if he 
had not noticed anything peculiar on the floor, nor 
27 



The Storm of London 

any stray object lying about? No, Temple had 
seen nothing except the total disappearance of all 
draperies, chair coverings, carpets, books, etc. 
There was nothing on the floor, only a little more 
dust than before in front of the writing-desk. This 
satisfied Lionel, who made up his mind that the 
whole thing was the effect of his own imagination, 
very probably occasioned by this miserable wound 
which at times was a great worry to him ; and he 
settled down to forget the past and to solve the 
present in trying to explain this strange event. 
But in vain did he endeavour to do so, his eyes per- 
sistently went back to the window, and he con- 
stantly got up to watch the opposite house and 
the few strollers that ventured out ; of course they 
were all servants who so immodestly exposed 
themselves to his investigation, still it amused 
him much more to watch the street than to ponder 
these grave questions. 

"Well, I think I was a damned fool last night, 
provided I did such a foolish thing as to try and 
blow my brains out. This is worth living for, and 
I have not been amused for many years as I am 
now. It must have something to do with last 
night's storm. If this is going to last, I suppose 
the old fellows at the Royal Institute will make 
it their business to ponder this stupendous 
phenomenon." 

Temple brought the luncheon tray about 1.30 ; 
28 



The Storm of London 

only a couple of kidneys, a glass of Apollinaris 
water; it would be sufficient for that day, as he 
could not get out that afternoon and have a ride. 
Then more thinking, with as little attention as 
before. After that, tea with a bit of toast and no 
butter, and more thinking, interrupted at times by 
sudden glances through the window. Temple 
came once or twice to his master's door with all 
the news that was afloat in the areas, butlers' 
pantries, saddle-rooms, and although this gossip 
originated on the backstairs, it was welcomed by 
the heir of great estates, for, at this moment he 
could get no direct information, and what his valet 
brought him was as good as he could ever get. 
The valet had reminded my lord that to-day was 
the Levee, which the latter was to attend. This 
amused him very much, for was it likely that the 
Admiral, the Field-Marshal, the latest V.C. would 
ever venture beyond their bed-rug oh ! that even 
was gone to go and meet their ruler in their 
skins? No, these things were impossible, and the 
structure of Society would soon crumble to ashes 
if one man unadorned was to meet another man 
unclad. Of course Lord Somerville was very 
anxious to know whether all London was in the 
same condition, to which the faithful valet replied, 
that he had it from the milkman that Belgravia 
was as silent as a tomb, Bayswater a wilderness, 
and Buckingham Palace a desert. As to the omni- 

29 



The Storm of London 

buses, after one journey up and down they had 
given up running at all, as no one wanted a drive, 
and the few servants and working-men about 
preferred walking. Towards seven o'clock, Lionel 
felt inclined to have a little food, and he ordered a 
grilled sole and a custard. That would do for 
him, but evidently it did not do for Temple, who 
was quite shocked at his master's abstemiousness, 
and recoiled before appearing in front of the cook 
with such a meagre menu. " He would be capable 
of throwing a dish at my head, my lord ; he hardly 
believed me when I told him your lordship wanted 
two kidneys for lunch." 

But Lionel was determined, and would hear of 
nothing more for dinner and sent the cook to 
Jericho through the intermediary of Temple, 
adding that he could not eat more when he had 
no proper exercise, that he had had sufficient, 
having eaten when he felt hungry and left off 
when he had had enough which he had not 
done for many years. 

"Yes, my lord," had respectfully answered the 
faithful valet, who perhaps at the same time 
thought his master's remark a wise one. 

The evening went by, bringing no change in 
the situation ; and by nine o'clock it was universally 
known, and partly accepted, that from the Lord 
Chancellor to the Carlton waiter, frock-coat or no 
coat, woolsack or three-legged crock, a man was 
30 



The Storm of London 

to be a man for a' that. One great calamity had 
befallen them all, and in one minute levelled the 
whole of London's inhabitants to the state of 
nature. The question arose in my lord's mind 
whether they were sufficiently fitted for that state ? 
Could they face the God Pan with as much com- 
posure as they had faced all the other gods ? 
He heard the heavy footsteps of the lamp- 
lighter methodically going through his work. It 
was strange that he had never once thought of 
stopping his nocturnal routine. Evidently 
whatever happened, the streets had to be lighted, 
and Lionel mused long and deeply on these 
questions of duty and force of habit, as he looked 
out of the window into the street and observed 
the long shadow descending over London. 

" Was it the sense of duty that prompted the 
actions of these menials?" He could not bring 
himself to think that, and he could not help 
believing that amongst his own superior class 
the sense of duty was always accompanied by a 
powerful sense of the fitness of things, so that 
if a virtue clashed with prejudices and the 
accepted standard of propriety, it was desirable 
that they should build up some new duty more 
in harmony with their worldly principles. There, 
no doubt, lay the difference between the upper 
classes and the lower, and which made the former 
shrink before breaking the laws of decorum, when 



The Storm of London 

the latter saw no objection to performing daily 
pursuits in their skins, unconcerned with higher 
motives of purity and exalted ideals. 

Whether Lord Somerville had touched the key- 
note of social ethics remained unknown, but he 
retired early to his pallet and slept soundly 
through the still night. 

Next day was the same, the day after identical, 
and the week passed thus without any change in 
the London phenomenon. Had the carpet in the 
Arabian tales carried the whole metropolis to 
some undiscovered planet, the wonderment could 
not have been greater. After a few days, Lionel 
observed that the L.C.C. Neptune had acquired 
more ease, more laisser-aller in his movements 
and postures, and decidedly sat less stiffly on his 
high perch; the butcher's boy also carried his 
tray on his shoulder with distinct dash and 
comeliness. From his daily observations he 
came to the conclusion that London life, in its 
mechanical working, was going on pretty much 
as usual. He questioned his faithful valet, who 
by this time had become more than a servant, 
being newsagent and Court circular rolled into 
one. What he learned through the keyhole was 
astounding. No House of Commons, no Upper 
House were sitting ! How could anything go on 
at that rate ? Ah ! that was the strangest part 
of it, for materially everything seemed to be as 
32 



The Storm of London 

usual ; the tradespeople came round for orders, 
and there was no danger of starving. The wheels 
of life kept on rolling, for, those who represented 
the axle were still in the centre of the wheel, and 
nothing could remove them. It was the upper 
part of the edifice that had given way, or at 
least had willingly retired into modest seclusion. 
The wheels might run for a long time without the 
coach, but the coach had no power to advance in 
any way without the wheels. This is what puzzled 
Lionel so much; he had always believed that if 
Society took it into its head to strike, the world 
would come to a standstill ; and here was a 
colossal emergency in which one part of the 
edifice went on as if nothing had happened, 
while the other in his eyes the important one 
was forced to retire behind its walls, if it meant 
to keep sacred the principles of modesty and 
decorum ; and still the whole structure had not 
foundered. Of course it could not last for ever. 
Nothing did last ; and this axiom consoled Lord 
Somerville, as he cradled himself into the belief 
that the present condition would never answer 
in this eminently aristocratic empire. Why had 
not such a thing happened to Parisians ? "I 
could safely declare that they would not have 
made such a fuss about it. They would have 
taken the adventure as it is, if transient, and 
would have accepted the joke with rollicking fun ; 
c 33 



The Storm of London 

if serious, they would have made the best of it, 
seen the plastic side of the situation, and at once 
endeavoured to live up to it as gracefully as 
possible. Yes, there lay the whole difference 
between the Latin race and the Anglo-Saxon ; 
the former aimed at beauty, and the other, as 
the Bishop of Sunbury had said at Islington, 
aimed at a moral attitude. 

" I suppose there is a certain amount of truth in 
this," thought the Earl, as he sipped his cup of 
tea, "for here am I living up to a standard of 
punctilious modesty, which would even put the 
chaste Susannah to shame ; and Heaven knows I 
never have been overburdened with principles, 
but, quite on the contrary, was oblivious of any 
moral attitude. It must be that the ambiante of 
this country is of a superior quality to that of any 
other." 

There was a gentle knock at the door: "The 
Bishop of Welby has sent round to know whether 
your lordship would allow your women-servants 
to help in the finding of a suitable text for a 
sermon he wishes to deliver when this state has 
ceased ? His lordship is in a great stress, being 
unable to lay his hand on his Bible, and finds himself 
at a loss to recall all the contents of the Holy 
Scriptures." 

" By all means, Temple I am always delighted 
to be of any use to the bishop, although, for my 
34 



The Storm of London 

part, I regret I cannot help him in this. Can you 
remember any suitable text, Temple?" 

Temple made no reply. 

" I say, Temple, how do the dowagers take 
this kind of thing ? I am rather curious to know 
how they manage." 

The valet inquired from the upper housemaid, 
who very soon gathered information from her 
friends along the areas, and in an hour the faith- 
ful newsagent had collected a bushel of gossip. 
The attitude of the dowagers towards the social 
calamity was one of stubborn resistance and of 
fervent prayer. The old Lady Pendelton had 
said to her maid, through the keyhole, that it was 
only a question of time, and that with a little 
display of self-control, for which the race was so 
celebrated, they would soon pull through this 
ghastly experience. Some of the old ladies, 
whose bedrooms were contiguous to those of their 
daughters, knocked on the wall exhorting their 
virtuous progeny to persevere in the ways of 
the righteous and to keep up a good heart. 
Out-door gossips would be supplied to them : 
" Sarah does not mind going out," had shouted 
through the wall one of the pillars of female 
Society, " you see, dear Evelyn, these sort of 
people do not possess the same quality of 
modesty that we do they have to toil, not to 
feel." So thought the dowager, and many more 

35 



The Storm of London 

believed this to be true. What a load of injustice 
was settled by such an argument ! 

When the first shock was over, and Lord 
Somerville had ceased wondering at a class of 
people who did not mind being seen in their 
Edenic attire, he dropped into a humorous mood, 
and passed in review a good many of his friends, 
men and women. 

" By Jove ! " he exclaimed in a fit of laughter, 
" I wonder what old Bentham looks like in his 
skin ? The Stock Exchange will be a rum 
circus when they all race for cash as modern 
gladiators ! And what of Fender, and of Clave- 
bury ; and Gladys Ventnor, Arabella Chale and 
tutti quanti?" 

Then he thought of his friend, Victor de 
Laumel, of the Jockey Club in Paris. He felt 
convinced Victor would tell him, " I say, my 
good fellow, why do you mind ? Go out and give 
the example of simplicity and good-humour." 

After all, it was not that he minded much, and 
if the Upper Ten appointed between themselves 
a day and hour in which they would all go out 
together, it would not be so bad ; but it was the 
idea of appearing before and mixing with an 
indiscriminate crowd. It would be really annoy- 
ing to have your butler look you up and down, 
and to stand the flitting sneer on the lips of your 
groom. Of course there was nothing in the 
36 



The Storm of London 

abstract against an Edenic garment ; but one 
must not forget that Adam and Eve were alone in 
Paradise, and had no crowd to pass unpleasant 
remarks over their personal appearance. It was 
only when that interfering Tertium quid had 
sneaked round the corner that they had lost all 
the fun in life. Well, if one reptile had the power 
to make them feel ashamed of themselves, what 
would it be now that thousands of little twinkling 
eyes were glaring, and that myriads of sharp 
tongues hissed and stung ? It was quite evident 
that clothes kept the world within bounds of 
decency, besides restraining the overbearance of 
the lower classes and enforcing their respect for 
their superiors. What could our civilisation be 
without the cap-and-apron ethics ? It is difficult 
enough to keep up a certain standard in the 
world with the help of smart surroundings ; but 
how could one command deference from, and give 
orders to one's domesticity in this attire ? 

On the eleventh day of this prison life, Lord 
Somerville woke with a sharp pain in his side, and 
as he sat up on his pallet he was seized with 
giddiness. This was a premonition which filled 
him with awe. His liver was hopelessly out of 
order, and no doubt many of his friends' livers 
were in the same condition owing to this sedentary 
life. Hard thinking and solitary confinement would 
be sure to have a fatal effect on a race accustomed 
37 



The Storm of London 

to exercise and deep drinking. The area gossip 
was ominous, and what Temple recorded to his 
master boded no good to the Upper Ten, who 
were suffering from a general attack of dyspepsia. 
It was a very serious question, a race doomed to 
sequestration ; and there was a fear that eventually 
London, the well - drained, well - watered, well- 
lighted and altogether well-County-Councilled, 
would be turned into a vast lunatic asylum. When 
ethics meant apoplexy, it was time to halt and 
loosen the strings of propriety ; and it was the 
duty of the sporting duke, the rubicund brewer, 
and of all the fastidious do-nothings, to weave for 
themselves in the seclusion of their chambers a 
new tissue of principles to suit their abnormal 
condition. Lionel inquired whether the Bishop 
had come to any conclusion about his text. 
Temple did not know about that, but he knew that 
the prelate had complained of insomnia and sick- 
ness, and asked for sal volatile. Lady Pendelton 
had been heard by her maid to fall on the floor. 
Was her ladyship better now ? had asked Lionel. 
Yes, but her maid could hear her tottering in her 
room and moaning piteously. 

" It is very bad this, Temple. I think some- 
thing ought to be done for the good of the public ; 
but what ? " 

" I believe that if your lordship would only show 
yourself I beg your pardon, my lord but an 
38 



The Storm of London 

example would be beneficial, and your lordship is 
so popular, I am sure you would carry the day." 

"Do you really believe that my showing myself 
would be a general signal ? You see, Temple, I 
do not want to find myself all alone in the streets 
of London, with all the dowagers grinning at their 
windows. That would never do." 

" Oh ! your lordship need not fear. There is a 
great feeling of discontent among the higher 
classes ; and before you could say Jack Robinson 
they would all follow your example." 

"That is certainly very encouraging. Bring 
me some boiling water to drink. No break- 
fast, thanks." 

The wave of revolt was rising furiously and 
threatening to drown all principles of decency. 
Utter disgust filled the hearts of Londoners when 
they retired to rest on the eleventh night of their 
voluntary seclusion. It is then, when large 
shadows envelop the city, that common - sense 
creepingly visits the bedside of each inhabitant ; 
and as the mysterious hour that is supposed to 
unnerve the bravest man approaches, great 
principles give way, and practical reasoning comes 
to the fore, to ease the questionist out of his moral 
jungle. 



39 



CHAPTER III 

WHEN the men and women of this powerful race 
make up their minds to anything, whether right or 
wrong, they neither hesitate nor do they allow any 
time to elapse between decision and consummation. 
So it was that on the morning of the twelfth day 
Lord Somerville sprang off his couch, took his tub 
and brushed his hair with unusual alacrity. He 
did not give a passing glance at his mirror, strange 
to say ; perhaps, had he done so, his resolution 
would have slackened; but Lord Somerville was 
wise, and, not unlike the ostrich, he believed that 
no one would look at him because he had not 
looked at himself. He opened his bedroom door, 
walked along the passages without meeting one of 
his domestics, and reached the beautiful marble 
staircase for which this mansion was so renowned. 
As he crossed the vestibule he gave a furtive look 
at the footman ensconced in his basket chair ; but 
the latter was asleep, or at least his innate delicacy 
prompted him to this subterfuge, to allow his 
master to pass by unnoticed. 

Lionel unbolted the front door with a sudden 
jerk, and as he did this he heard a successive un- 
40 



The Storm of London 

bolting of doors, which sounded throughout the 
silent city like a gun fired in honour of some royal 
birthday. In one or two seconds the streets were 
invaded. 

He stood amazed on the pavement and 
marvelled at this stupendous event ! It was true 
that England, for centuries, had prided herself on 
her public opinion. But what was the England of 
twelve days ago to that of to-day? Few nations 
could boast of an Upper Ten capable of such 
abnegation, that of one common accord they all 
decided to put away personal feelings, vanities 
and principles, for the sake of their fellow- 
creatures. One huge wave of altruism had swept 
over Society, which cherished the fond idea that it 
initiated, ruled and guided the rest of the world. 
Indeed, this was a great event in the modern 
history of Great Britain, already so rich in philan- 
thropic examples. Lionel took a deep breath as 
he walked away from his ancestral mansion ; he 
watched men rushing past him ; evidently they were 
going straight to their business. He saw women 
shuffling alongside of the walls, as if these would 
throw a shadow over their naked forms ; but who 
they were was quite beyond him to tell, and 
perhaps it was as well, at first, to ignore who 
they were. It was a boisterous exodus, though 
one imposed by the sense of duty ; and the 
violent exercise of hurrying brought vigour back 
4i 



The Storm of London 

to their weakened limbs. Naturally the first 
observation of Lord Somerville was that this 
colourless mass of humanity was slightly 
monotonous, although soothing to wearied eye- 
balls. He followed a good many people, just 
for the fun of it, and frequently thought he was 
on the point of recognising some friend or 
acquaintance ; but no, it was hopeless to try and 
find out who was who; besides, they nearly all 
seemed to shun one another, and as they passed 
each other bowed their heads and looked on the 
ground. He reached Trafalgar Square ; there 
the scene was full of animation : children were 
jumping in and out of the fountains, and shaking 
themselves as birds do their feathers after a good 
ducking ; men ran round the Landseer lions for 
a constitutional, and women dodged them on the 
other side, in this way endeavouring to keep up a 
semblance of feminine coyness. There was no 
doubt that this part of London was different from 
the genteel Mayfair, and it threatened to be rowdy 
as you approached the City. Lionel walked past 
Charing Cross, which looked abandoned; but 
the Strand the main artery of London's 
anatomy was surging with a buoyant popula- 
tion rushing to the City-heart. Lionel thought 
he would have great fun in watching office doors, 
and would perhaps recognise a few millionaire 
bounders who certainly were not like the Society 
42 



The Storm of London 

men of his stamp, and therefore would be more 
easily recognised. He went up Fleet Street, 
leaving St Paul's on his left, walked through 
Threadneedle Street, where he knew many of the 
City magnates. Pacing up and down the pave- 
ment he thought he would have a good opportunity 
of seeing the men who went in and out of offices 
and of conjecturing on their identity. Very soon 
he witnessed a wild scene of confusion : men 
darted out of offices suffused with deep blushes ; 
managers of large warehouses ran in and out of 
houses in delirium ! Another idea crossed 
Lionel's mind : evidently these people were, like 
him, unable to recognise anyone ; business men 
were at a loss to know their clerks from their 
financier friends, as they could not discern buyers 
from sellers. Of course in this terrible mystifica- 
tion, there was no attempt made at bowing or 
talking in the streets of London ; it was a new 
departure from last week's urbanity, when 
courteousness had been distributed according to 
the more or less respectability of external appear- 
ance. 

" I am afraid that insurmountable difficulties 
will stare us in the face," murmured Lionel as he 
retraced his steps towards Piccadilly, after fruitless 
attempts at knowing his friends in the crowd. 
<c We have not yet grasped what this new position 
means ; at first we have thought of decency, some, 
43 



The Storm of London 

I suppose, have dwelt on morality's destiny ; 
but I do declare that it means more than all that. 
If we cannot know employers from employees 
the whole status of civilisation is done with. 
This is a thing of which I had never thought." 
He noticed, on his way home, that women had 
tears rolling down their cheeks, and men, as he 
brushed past them, swore in their moustaches. 
Lord Somerville felt a choking sensation in his 
throat as he realised that the old life with all its 
ease and luxury was over. Everything was so 
bare, so ugly. Where were the bewitching 
fashions that rejoiced his fastidious eye ? Where 
the daintily-gowned young girls and women in 
our beautiful parks? As women passed by, he 
wondered to what class of Society they belonged. 
How could the shop-girl now be differentiated 
from the Duke's daughter? He never could 
have believed such a dilemma possible. In front 
of his club he glanced through the swinging 
glass doors, and saw a portly individual standing ; 
but he could not for his life tell whether it was 
the hall porter or one of the members. 

Solitary confinement for twelve days had nearly 
driven Londoners mad ; but he now realised that 
isolation in the midst of a maddening crowd would 
soon turn them into drivelling idiots. What they 
had gone through for more than a week had 
been a conflict between virtue and self-interest; 
44 



The Storm of London 

but the future was more fearful, for more than 
interest was at stake, as self-respect was threatened 
to sink in this universal levelling. When he 
thought of all the social solecisms likely to occur 
in this state of incognito, he shuddered. If it 
was impossible to know whom to bow to, whom to 
nod to and whom to snub, however could Society 
exist? Our exclusive circles owed their existence 
to those delicate nuances of politeness ; and when 
the sliding scales of courtesy were abolished, 
Democracy was at hand, for no power on earth 
could stem the torrent of Anarchism from over- 
powering defenceless Society. 

The first exodus was decidedly a failure, and 
Lionel felt the galling bitterness of disappoint- 
ment when, between twelve and one, he entered 
his house, refusing all the entreaties of his valet to 
partake of a dainty luncheon. All London was 
in the same discomfited mood that morning, and 
the fashionable beauty, reclining on her hard couch, 
wept bitter tears over her defunct wardrobe and 
hat-boxes. The company promoter behind his 
window, looking at the irritating butcher's boy 
and callous milkman, grunted audibly, "These 
are the sort of people we are now to rub against 
at every turn ! " 

There evidently was more behind feathers and 
furbelows than our friend Horatio could have 
known, and London would have to spell the first 
45 



The Storm of London 

words of a philosophy which would be drier to- 
them all than that of Plato, Kant or Carlyle. 

After two more days of keen despair, the same 
longing for fresh air seized hold of the Upper 
Ten ; though this time bolts were not drawn with 
that vigour which had given to the first exodus 
the sound of a salute of musketry. It was more 
like a distant roll of thunder, forerunner of a 
clouded atmosphere. The exit from houses was 
not any more triumphant and didactic, it was slow 
and cheerless ; and had not the air been balmy,, 
the sky blue, citizens would have felt a shiver run 
down their spine as they realised their abandoned 
condition. This time Lord Somerville restricted 
his wanderings to the smart thoroughfares, leaving 
the mercantile City to its own confusion. He 
entered restaurants where he had known many 
of the habitues ; but he went out of them shocked 
at not being recognised by any of his friends* 
Formerly all was so easy ; one had but to step 
out, and one knew exactly who was who by 
the brim of a hat, the cut of a coat, the handling 
of a walking-stick ; but not even a rude stare 
could help one now to identify anyone, and 
nothing could save one from committing a social 
faux pas. He strolled up the Haymarket. How 
difficult it was to walk in that attire. " I wonder 
if Adam rambled all over Paradise, and if he did 
not feel awkward? I wish I knew what to do 
46 



The Storm of London 

with my hands." There was a crowd at Piccadilly 
Circus, and he had great difficulty in advancing. 
What attracted the attention of the population 
were the empty windows of Swan & Edgar's. 
Hundreds of women were peering through the 
deserted shops which had hitherto been over- 
crowded with ladies' apparel of every kind and 
sort. He edged his way through and contrived 
to get on the pavement; but many pushed him, 
and he elbowed freely in this crowd of Adams 
and Eves. He was very much astonished to find 
himself saying " Beg your pardon " when he un- 
consciously collided with anyone. 

" After all, I do not know who I am knocking 
against, it might be my most intimate friend, and 
upon the whole it is better to be polite to some- 
one you do not know than to be wanting in 
common civility towards a friend." The Earl had 
unwittingly got hold of a vital problem, and one 
that would no doubt induce Society some day to 
transform the tone of politeness. 

In Hyde Park he noticed several groups, and 
towards the Serpentine the crowd became denser ; 
but to escape the noisy clamour of urchins splash- 
ing in the water he took a small path leading to 
Kensington Gardens. Most of the smart world 
would be there, thought Lionel, though the outing 
was not one of fashion. Hygiene and reflection 
were drawing both sexes to the shady parts of 
47 



The Storm of London 

Kensington ; they felt their isolation less 
oppressively in this glorious verdure. The soft 
grass was more refreshing than hot pavements ; 
the trees, hedges and flower-beds were more 
fragrant surroundings than high houses ; and in 
this harmonious frame one would feel less at 
variance with a discordant world. 

The day was young yet, hardly 11.30, and the 
hot rays of the sun were piercing through the 
foliage of the broad avenue facing the Palace. 
Solitary individuals walked on the cool grass, sat 
on stone benches and iron chairs ; but none talked 
to anyone, and there lacked in this mythological 
picture the animation that humanity generally 
brings into a landscape. Birds were busy 
chirping, making love, mock quarrelling, and the 
leaves rustled softly as a breath of hot wind 
caressed the branches of trees. 

Lord Somerville lay down on a stone bench, 
linking his arms behind his head. He let his 
fanciful imagination have full play : allowing 
philosophy to suggest to him queer problems 
concerning the personal appearance of some of his 
lady friends. A chuckle rose to his lips ; a 
sparkling twinkle lighted up his pale blue eye. He 
saw at a distance a small, dapper man coming this 
way ; his head was well set on his shoulders ; there 
was no hesitation in his step, no awkwardness in 
his bearing ; one of his hands was placed on one 
4 8 



The Storm of London 

hip, the other dropped gracefully at his side, as he 
stood within a few yards of the young heir to 
large properties. 

"Who can that be? Can it be my tailor? I 
can only think of him recognising me at a glance, 
these fellows know us inside out. Deucedly 
awkward though to be accosted like this by 
tradespeople." And as the newcomer stood close 
to him, the Earl sat up, and bowed as disdainfully 
as he could manage under the circumstances. 

" I daresay you do not know me, my lord, but 
I have that advantage over your lordship, having 
seen you often about town, and frequently admired 
your equipages in the Park, and noticed your 
presence in one of the boxes at the Tivoli." 

This was a touch of kin, and something in the 
tone of his interlocutor cheered Lionel and put 
him in a happy train of thought. The link with 
the outer world, his world of ready-made pleasures 
and strong stimulants, was not quite broken. A 
rush of the past life came surging back to his 
mind, and he grasped the hand of his new friend as 
Robinson Crusoe must have done that of Friday 
when the latter made his appearance on the 
deserted island. 

" I seem to know you, sir ; although I cannot 
put a name to your face ; but let me, all the same, 
greet you warmly ; you are the first that has 
recognised me since the storm." 
D 49 



The Storm of London 

" And that is a fortnight ago, my lord, a very 
long lapse of time for your lordship, who is such 
a favourite in Society. But I haven't come here 
only to disturb your musings ; I have a motive, a 
very serious one, that will ultimately affect you 
and all London. First of all, I am Dick Danford 
of the Tivoli, the White Bread, and of the 
Saltseller." 

" Now I know where I have seen you, heard you 
and applauded you, Mr Danford. Your voice 
came home to me as would a favourite strain of 
music of which the title has slipped one's memory. 
What can I do for you? I am at your service. 
Let us stroll under these shady trees, it will be 
cooler than here, and you will tell me all you have 
to say." 

" Well, my lord," began the little dapper Tivoli 
artist, when they had reached the shade of the 
long avenue, "you know, as we all do, what has 
happened. It is needless to remark any more on 
the deadlock of business, in whatever branch it 
may be, owing to manufacturers and weavers being 
on the streets and cheque-books having vanished 
into thin air." 

" Yes, and we have no purses, and no pockets to 
put them in." 

" We will not discuss the feminine point of view 
of this event, my lord ; their coyness and pudicity 
are of course a credit to their sex, and we can but 
So 



The Storm of London 

honour them for carrying so high the ideal of 
womanhood ; but that must wear off in time, as 
the fair sex finds out that the world cannot wait 
for them, and that the rotation of our planet cannot 
come to a standstill because the modesty of our 
wives and sisters is in jeopardy." 

The little mimic lifted his sharply-cut features 
and looked into the long, aristocratic face of his 
listener. 

" I am all ears, Mr Danford ; but about 
modesty I have nothing to say. Mayfair is not 
the nursery for such delicate plants ; besides, I 
think that coyness is already on the wane, for I 
see several groups of women lounging about. Do 
not trouble your clever head about that, and 
tell me in what way I can be of any use to 
you ? " 

" The point is this, my lord, as you know, 
no one is able to recognise anyone. No high- 
collared cloak nor slouch hat and mask could be 
a better disguise than this general unmasking. 
You know the adage : * Tell the truth, and no 
one will believe you.' We can add another 
truism : ' Show yourself as you are, and no one 
will know you.' No doubt, there is still a little 
mannerism that clings to the individual, by which 
one could recognise their identity; but it would 
require a strenuous effort of the mind, and a 
wonderful memory of personal tricks, to be able 



The Storm of London 

to arrive at knowing who's who. So I have 
bethought myself of a plan. We artists of the 
Music Hall alone possess the art of observa- 
tion. You see, we have made a special study of 
the physiognomy, and have stored our brains with 
all the particularities of Society leaders, the 
oddities of the clergy, of City magnates and 
gutter marionettes. Some remedy must be found 
at once for this present state of affairs, or else 
the whole edifice of Society will disappear, and we 
artists will perish in the downfall. The remedy 
cannot come from the Upper Ten, I am afraid, 
for they have no memory nor any observing 
powers. I beg your pardon, my lord, but I am 
speaking very openly on the subject, and you 
must excuse me if I feel the position very 
keenly." 

" Go on, my dear Danford ; what you say is 
very true and very interesting. I am beginning 
to see what you mean. By the way, I think I see 
the Duke of Southdown on that chair shall we 
walk up to him? You might tell him of your 
plan." 

" Do nothing of the kind ! " hurriedly said the 
mimic, laying a firm hand on Lord Somerville's 
arm. " The man you take for His Grace is a 
driver of the London General Omnibus Company. 
Now, my lord, you see what mistakes you are 
likely to make." 

52 



The Storm of London 

" By God, I could have sworn this was the 
Duke ! But, Danford, do you never commit such 
solecisms?" 

"No, very rarely." Danford shook his head 
knowingly, and over his thin lips flitted that in- 
definable smile for which he was so renowned on 
the boards. " But there you are, you have not 
made a special study of human physiognomy, 
and have not through hard plodding acquired 
that sense of observation, that keenness of 
perception, that we have, for you have had no 
need to retain the facial grimaces and queer 
movements of individuals. To-day the Music 
Halls are closed and we are broke, but in this 
wreckage, we artists have saved our precious 
faculty of memorising. The profession has 
therefore decided to make a new move; this 
morning I saw the manager of the Tivoli, who 
asked me to be the intermediary between the 
profession and the aristocracy of which, my lord, 
you are one of the strongest columns. This 
state of things looks as if it were going to last, 
and as we cannot prevent it we must boom 
it." 

" I follow you, Danford, and am curious to know 
what you will propose as a remedy." 

" Well, my lord, I advise that we artists, men and 
women, should open in every district of London 
Schools of Observation, in which the art of 

53 



The Storm of London 

memorisation will be taught, and prizes will be 
given to pupils who recognise the most faces in 
one hour. I myself believe that Society will not 
easily learn that art ; for it has so long relied on 
outward signs to guide it in the recognition of 
folks, that its faculties are warped, and it will 
take us all our time to pull Society through this 
difficulty. Then a special branch should be 
started at once, or else the aristocracy will sink 
into the deep waves of oblivion. We must all 
I mean the Music Hall variety artists accept 
engagements for dinner - parties, receptions, 
afternoon teas ; in fact, for every entertainment 
where more than two are gathered, and act as 
social guides. To give you a sample of what I 
can do, my lord, I propose to take a stroll with 
you along the favourite thoroughfares of town ; 
not at present, for London will turn in for 
luncheon very soon, but between six and seven 
o'clock we can meet again." 

" Are you sure, Danford, that we shall find 
anyone out at that time ? " 

" Ah ! You do not know Londoners as well as 
I do. They have had enough of seclusion. They 
have twice tasted fresh air, and they will long to 
taste it again. Public opinion is as strong as ever 
in our country ; it is a wave that rolls incessantly 
over the London beach ; the debris of wrecks 
cast up by the sea are very soon washed away 
54 



The Storm of London 

by the next wave, and so does the tide of public 
opinion eternally sweep away some old political 
hobby, and bring back some moral crank. The 
smallest scheme becomes a national enterprise in 
this island of ours, and if once Society takes up 
our idea, the world is saved. This evening there 
will be more Londoners out than there are at 
present. Everyone, more or less of course 
invalids excepted is unable to sacrifice practical 
life to a preconceived idea of virtue ; we are 
even very much to be praised for having given 
up ten of our precious days to a moral 
principle." 

"This would not have occurred in any Latin 
country, for they depend so much on their inter- 
course with human beings ; perhaps we have less 
merit, after all, in having remained confined so 
many days, as we are not so sociable as our Latin 
neighbours." 

" Oh ! What an error, my lord ; I have always 
thought the reverse, and firmly believe that we 
Britishers are the most superficial of human 
creatures." 

" Still, you cannot deny, Danford, that our lower 
classes take their pleasures gloomily ? " 

" I am astonished that you should make such 
a remark, Lord Somerville ; you are too much up- 
to-date to bring that exploded accusation against 
our race. If our lower orders take Sunday 

55 



The Storm of London 

rambles in our City graveyards, it is not for the 
dead that they go there, but partly for the flowers 
and the trees ; mostly, however, in search of 
excitement. They spell the In Memoriams on 
tombstones as they would devour penny 
novelettes. It gives them a glamour of romance 
and tragedy, as a jeweller's shop window opens 
a glittering vista of luxury to the hungry stare 
of a beggar. It is always what lies behind the 
scenes that will for ever enthral the minds of 
human beings. You, of the Upper Ten, have 
excitements of all sorts, subtle and coarse ; 
amusements of every descriptions, frivolous or 
cruel ; passions of all kinds, high and low ; but 
the wearied toilers have only the routine of an 
eventless existence ; no wonder shop windows 
and graveyards are their arena, but it does not 
follow that they take their pleasures sadly. A 
child will play with a dead man's skull if he has 
no painted doll." 

They had reached Hyde Park Corner. 

" I have passed a very pleasant hour with you, 
Danford ; perhaps one of the pleasantest for many 
years. Shall we say 6.30 at the foot of Achilles's 
statue ? " 

" Yes, my lord, and the place you name is 
most appropriate." 

With a wave of the hand Danford walked away 
in the direction of Sloane Street, and Lord 
56 



The Storm of London 

Somerville slowly went up Piccadilly. He felt 
what he had not experienced since his Eton days 
an interest in life ; and he was determined to 
see this farce through. 



57 



CHAPTER IV 

DICK DANFORD was as good as his word. After 
an hour's stroll through London, Lord Somerville 
came to the conclusion that, for the present, his 
eyes were no more to him than a tail would have 
been. The old world of before the storm seemed 
to have vanished in a bottomless pit, and what 
he viewed instead was as prodigious as what 
he had hoped to see on his travels across 
Acheron. He noticed that tricks and mannerisms 
were as yet clinging to both sexes : women still 
grasped their invisible dresses as if they had been 
bunches of keys, twisted about their fingers absent 
chains round their necks ; men tried to put their 
hands in vanished pockets, and held imaginary 
umbrellas in front of them (the latter Danford 
declared were clergymen), and their necks, 
stiffened by the long use of high collars, gave 
them the appearance of turkeys. But as to 
knowing anyone in this Babel of faces, that was 
quite out of the question ; and Lionel went from 
one ejaculation to another as Dick enumerated 
the different notabilities of Society, the theatrical 
world and financial booths. It was like a trans- 
58 



The Storm of London 

formation scene at Drury Lane. The world was 
not what he had altogether taken it to be, and if 
he found himself to have been even more swindled 
than he had believed, still, there were surprises 
for which he had not been prepared and which 
were worth living for : the beautiful women were 
not all as beautiful as he had thought them, but 
the plain ones had a great many points that 
commended them to a connoisseur. As to the 
men whom he had feared as rivals in the arena of 
good fortunes, they made him smile as he gave 
an admiring glance at his spinal curve reflected in 
a shop mirror. The little artist's conversation 
was a succession of fireworks ; never on the boards 
had he been more entertaining than this afternoon, 
acting the part of a humorous Mephistopheles to 
this masher Faust. He informed Lord Somerville 
that after he had left him in the morning he had 
done some good work for the public welfare, 
and had come to a final arrangement with the 
Commissioner of Police. 

" What for, Danford ? " had inquired Lionel. 

" Well, I do not know whether it struck you as 
it did me at your first exit, my lord, but the very 
first observation that impressed itself on me was 
the difficulty women had in distinguishing a 
policeman from an ordinary civilian. I watched 
many in distress, who gave an appealing look all 
round for the kindly help of a bobby. It was 

59 



The Storm of London 

hard to tell whether that man on the left with a 
dogged expression and thin legs was the police- 
man, or whether it was this other on the right, 
with limbs like marble columns and a puny face. 
Such dilemmas puzzled the public all through 
the day, and decided the Committee of Music 
Hall artists to take the matter in hand and 
confer with the heads of the Police." 

" Have you come to some understanding, 
Dick ? " 

" The thing is settled. Scotland Yard is to be 
turned into a public gymnasium, and a staff of 
picked policemen are to instruct the citizens in 
the art of being their own policemen." 

" How very expeditious you are in your pro- 
fession. Had this been in the hands of Parlia- 
ment, we should never have heard anything about 
it, however pressing the need might have been." 

" Then, another feature of our School of Obser- 
vation will be special prizes to be awarded to 
husbands who will recognise their wives, or vice 
versa, when out of their homes. I think that will 
take in Society, for I have noticed that the nearer 
the relationship the more difficult it was to know 
one another." 

" You are very neat in your remarks, Danford," 
said Lionel. 

"You see, my lord, every judgment I arrive at 
is the result of keen observation. I heard once, 
60 



The Storm of London 

during our ten days of seclusion, the most awful 
row in the house next to mine ; it belongs to the 
Longfords you know, the Longfords who took the 
Regalia Theatre for a season. Well, their house- 
maid reported to my landlady what the row was 
about, and she told me the next morning through 
the keyhole what had been the matter. The fact 
was this : Mrs Longford had entered her husband's 
room and had had the greatest difficulty in per- 
suading him she was his lawful wife. If such a 
scene could occur between a couple of twenty 
years' standing, in their own house, how much 
more difficult it would be to recognise your wife in 
the crowd." 

" And hence your idea of a prize. I think that 
had you decided to award it to the man who 
recognised another man's wife you would have 
been more successful." 

" We should have been bankrupt by the end of 
a week, my lord ; besides, this was a feature of the 
old Society, and we want to launch it on a totally 
novel basis. Originality must be our watchword." 

Lord Somerville, having been struck by the keen 
judgment and foresight of the little buffoon, had 
willingly promised him his support in every way. 
He would send round to all his friends and spread 
the idea amongst the Upper Ten, who would be 
sure to lead the movement and give a salutary 
example to the middle classes. Arrived at the 

61 



The Storm of London 

corner of Park Lane, Lionel had wistfully inquired 
of Danford whether he knew Gwendolen Tower- 
bridge? Dick was sorry, but he could not help 
Lord Somerville in that line. Engaged people were 
quite out of his department, Lord Somerville would 
have to solve that problem for himself; to which 
Lionel had shrugged his shoulders: just as well 
guess whose face was behind a thick mask. 

That evening Lionel sat up late in his library 
planning in his mind the organisation of the new 
Society of social guides. He frequently inter- 
rupted his work to look up at his father's portrait ; 
his type was not unlike hundreds of men he had 
seen during the day, and he wondered how he 
could recognise his own father were he alive? 
Would not the latter have been slightly bewildered 
in this Babel? Would not his pedantic theories 
on good breeding receive a shock were he now to 
step out of his frame and take a stroll through 
the streets of London ? 

Towards two o'clock in the morning the Earl had 
memorised the whole synopsis of the new Society > 
to be launched under the gracious patronage of the 
Earl of A.B.C. and of Her Grace the Duchess of 
X.Y.Z., and he retired to his pallet of plaited rushes 
with a sigh of contentment at the prospect of a 
new spectacular show, and with a sense of relief at 
the thought that Gwendolen was lost to him, more 
irrevocably lost in this general unmasking than if 
62 



The Storm of London 

a vessel had foundered on a rock, leaving her on a 
desert island. 

In a few days London resumed its usual occu- 
pations ; we cannot say that it looked quite the 
same, but Society apparently was in the swing 
once more. How could it be otherwise, when the 
flowers were in full bloom, the birds were warbling 
and the sun was shining? The brittle veneer of 
false modesty had crumbled under the power of 
necessity, and the inside of a fortnight had 
witnessed the downfall of prudery. No scandal 
ever reached two weeks' duration ; how could a 
virtuous craze have outlived it? Very different 
would it have been had half London appeared 
clad, while the other half remained unclothed; 
the contrast would have been offensive, and have 
called for wrathful indignation ; but as everyone 
was in the same way, unquestioned submission 
became a virtue as well as a necessity. Thus 
argued Society, for the hard blow dealt by the 
infuriated elements was fast healing, and the ex- 
fashionable and would-be smart people hailed 
Lord Somerville's new plan with enthusiasm. 
There was a great demand for social guides, a 
feverish excitement to take lessons at once in the 
art of observation, and a rush to attend lectures 
on physiognomy. At first curiosity was a power- 
ful stimulant. " It would be ripping," thought the 
Society girl, " to find out whether Lady Lilpot and 
63 



The Storm of London 

Lady Brownrigg's figures, which were so admired 
last season, were really bona fide, or only the 
fabrics of padding and whalebone." But very 
soon laziness damped their former ardour, and 
once more Society, ever incorrigible in its taste 
for ready-made pleasure, started the fashion of 
having social guides attached to their respective 
households. Had not ladies of fashion, men about 
town, formerly needed the services of French 
maids and experienced valets? It goes without 
saying that after the storm the constant attend- 
ance of these two custodians of the wardrobe were 
more irksome than pleasant, for they reminded 
persons of fashion of their vanished glory. These 
were therefore dismissed, for the housemaids could 
easily fulfil the scanty duties of the present 
dressing-rooms. Instead of the departed domestics, 
social guides were requisitioned. Lord Somerville 
was generally congratulated on his luck in obtain- 
ing the services of Dick Danford, who was con- 
sidered to be at the very top of his position. He 
united an infallible memory to an astounding 
accuracy of inductive methods in human generalisa- 
tion ; but what most commended him to his patron 
and pupil were the philosophical and satirical 
sidelights he threw at every turn on Society and 
the various professions. As Lionel hourly con- 
ferred with his Mentor, he became more and more 
enthralled in his work of social reform ; his daily 
64 



The Storm of London 

walks through the parks at Dick's elbow were a 
continual source of interest, and the object-lessons 
in human nature, provided by the London streets, 
threw him at times into the wildest spirits. 

The guides had a hard time of it in trying to 
bring their pupils out of that reserve so dear to the 
race, and they found great difficulty in making 
them act with more initiative. As long as the 
guide was at hand, it was all well, but when left to 
themselves, lady pupils and gentlemen students 
could not be brought to use their own judgment, 
and boldly venture to recognise people without 
the guide's help, so fearful were they of commit- 
ting social blunders. Still, Danford was sanguine; 
he kept saying that if the British lion had, in a 
fortnight, conquered the sense of shame, he would, 
in a few days more, throw pride to the four winds. 
He turned out to be quite right, for in ten days 
more London was launching out into a whirlpool 
of festivities. 

The little buffoon was very entertaining, and 
kept his pupil in fits of laughter, relating his 
various experiences in the smart circles of 
London. Over and over again a pleading voice 
whispered to him in the Park or at a party, " Oh 
dear Mr Danford, I wish you would look in to- 
morrow at my small tea-fight. Do you think 
Lord Somerville could spare you for an hour or 
two ? His father was such an old friend of mine. 
E 65 



The Storm of London 

I have asked a very few people, but after the 
butler's announcement I shall never know one 
from another hi ! hi! hi!" Another would in a 
deep, rough voice tell him to run in at luncheon 
Friday next : " Mrs Bilton is simply longing to 
meet you ; she has a daft daughter who persists 
in taking the footman for her pa very awkward, 
isn't it? I am sure, Mr Danford, you would 
teach her in a few lessons how to recognise her 
dad, for the girl is rather quick otherwise." " Ah, 
madam," had replied the smart little guide, " it 
takes a very wise girl to know her own father in 
our present Society ; I have seen strange instances 
of divination, and in many cases the girl, instead 
of a duffer, turned out to be too wise." Or else a 
distracted and jealous wife who could not dis- 
tinguish her lord and master in the crowd, ap- 
pealed to the mimic, imploring him to tell her by 
what special sign she might know him again. To 
which Dick ironically answered that he was not 
teaching people how to see moles, freckles and 
scars on human bodies, but was instructing 
them in the art of physiognomy. 

" But my husband is like thousands of men." 
"You mean by that, that he is without any 
facial expression ? " and Dick shrugged his 
shoulders. 

" Then how shall I ever know my husband ? " 
" Ah, dear Lady Woolhead, you have hit on 
66 



The Storm of London 

the fundamental question of our age. Indeed, 
how can you recognise him, when you do not 
know, nor ever have known, him ? And I have 
no doubt that he is in the same plight about your- 
self." And Lord Somerville would remark, 

" How amusing life must be to you, my dear 
Danford ; gifted with such satirical wit, you need 
never pass a dull moment." That was all very 
true, but had you asked the Tivoli comedian what 
he really thought of his employ in LordSomerville's 
household, he would have told you, though with 
bated breath, that it was not an easy mission to 
keep a Mayfair cynic amused, for at the vaguest 
approach of dulness, his lordship threatened to 
give up the game of life, and go over the way to 
see there what sort of a farce was on the bills. 

" I say, Dick, how would Adam have looked in 
a hansom, flourishing a branch of oak tree to 
stop the cabby?" 

" And what does your lordship think of Eve's 
attitude in a four-wheeler, ducking her fair head in 
and out of the window to indicate the way to the 
driver?" 

" Danford, this won't do. The naked form is 
not at its advantage seated upright in a brougham, 
nor is it decorative when doubled up on the back 
seat of a victoria." 

They were both struck by the unaesthetic 
67 



The Storm of London 

appearance of the present vehicles, as they arrived 
one afternoon at Mrs Webster's house in Carlton 
Terrace. 

" We shall have to discover some suitable 
conveyance for the Apollos and Venuses of new 
London." 

Standing on the steps of the house they passed 
in review all fashionable London stepping out of 
landaus, victorias, broughams, hansoms ; certainly 
the kaleidoscopic vision was not a success. 

Mrs Webster was giving her first large At Home 
of the season. She was noted for her gorgeous 
parties, her gorgeous suppers and gorgeous fortune ; 
but still more celebrated for her picture gallery 
and her kindness to artists. In her gallery was 
supposed to be lying two millions sterling worth of 
Old Masters, but her benevolence to artists did 
not cost her a farthing, it was a Platonic help she 
bestowed on them, and her charity had never been 
known to exceed an introduction to the Duchess 
of Southdown. She received all sorts and 
conditions of men and women ; all London met 
at her " crushes," Duchesses elbowed cowboys, 
Royal Highnesses sat close to political Radicals, 
and Bishops handed an ice to some notorious 
Mimi-la-Galette of the Paris Music Halls. They 
all danced to the tune of clinking gold. In fact, 
Mrs Webster's house, like so many others, was a 
stockpot out of which she ladled a social broth of 
68 



The Storm of London 

high flavour. There were many stockpots in 
London, from the strong consommt of exclusive 
brewing to the thin, tasteless Bovril of homely 
concoction. That of Mrs Webster's was a pottage 
of heterogeneous quality ; it had a Continental 
aroma of garlic, a backtaste of the usual British 
spice, and it left on one's lips a lingering savour of 
parvenu relish. The Upper Ten went to her dinners, 
though they screamed at her uncanny appearance, 
jeered at the authenticity of her Raphaels and Da 
Vincis, and quoted to each other anecdotes about 
her that had put even Mrs Malaprop in the shade. 
But these are the unsolvable problems of a Society 
divided into two sections ; the one that wishes to 
know everything about the people they visit ; the 
other who does not want to know anything about 
them. 



CHAPTER V 

AFTER looking at the prologue of the show, Lionel 
and Danford entered the house and ascended the 
steps of the once richly-carpeted staircase. At the 
top stood, or at least wabbled, a little woman, 
leaning heavily on a stick ; at her side was Sam 
Yorick, the social guide, who had no rival as a 
mimic of Parliamentary members, but who could 
not hold a candle to Dick Danford. Mrs Webster 
had applied too late, and had to take Yorick and 
consider herself lucky to get him, for he was the 
last male guide available, and she strongly objected 
to having a woman guide. 

The house was superbly decorated with large 
china vases in which magnolias, azaleas, and 
rhododendrons had been placed. The reception- 
rooms were filling rapidly ; it was soon going to be 
a crush. Every description of plastic was there 
the small, tall, large, thin ; and one uniform shade 
prevailed, that of the flesh colour. As the rays of 
the burning sun entered obliquely, tracing long 
lines of golden light on the parqueted floor, it 
illuminated equally the phalanxes of refined feet 
and ankles, flat insteps and knobby toes. 
70 



The Storm of London 

" My lord, do you see there Mrs Archibald ? " 

"What, the vaporous Mrs Archibald? But 
where is the grace of the woman we used to call 
the sylph of Belgravia ? " 

" She lost her chiffon covering in the London 
storm, my lord." 

" Some fat old dowager malignantly said of her 
that she was draped in her breeding, so thin and 
undulating did she appear. But, has the breeding 
disappeared also in the torrential rain ? for she 
looks as strong as a horse see these thick ankles, 
short wrists, and red arms. I always objected to 
that sylph in cream gauze, for one never could get 
at her, she lived de profit and one only could 
peep at her through side doors." 

" Who was her husband ? " inquired the little 
artist. 

" He was colonel of a crack regiment. His ideas 
were limited to two dogmas : the sense of military 
exclusiveness, and a profound horror of intellectual 
women. Like his wife he was well-bred." 

" Yes, my lord, but the Englishman has definite 
limits to his gentility ; the brute, though dormant, 
lies ready to leap and bite when he is annoyed." 

"What are you, Danford, if not an English- 
man?" Lionel smiled. 

" Ah ! satirists have neither sex nor nationality; 
but pray go on with your alembic of Colonel 
Archibald's character." 

7i 



The Storm of London 

" Well, he chose his wife because she was a well- 
bred girl or at least had her certificate of good 
breeding also because she was well connected and 
thoroughly trained in all social cunning." 

" Yes, and I daresay the thin, well-trained piece 
of machinery had been stirred by the dashing 
young officer. She secretly harboured love in that 
secret corner of the heart and senses which 
thorough-bred folks ignore outwardly but slyly 
analyse. We must not forget, my lord, that she 
has short wrists and thick ankles ha ! ha ! he was 
of her set, so nature could be let loose, while creep- 
ing passion was allowed to fill her whole being." 

"True, my dear Mephisto, but generations of 
women before her have done the same, and she 
did not disgrace the long lineage of mediocrity 
and avidity. She had been told what all women 
are told in our world namely, that a lady never 
spoke loudly, never thought broadly ; therefore 
she ruined her friends' reputations under a whisper, 
and put the Spanish Inquisition to shame by her 
pietistical hypocrisy." 

As Lionel ended this homily of the vapoury 
Mrs Archibald, a group of bystanders dispersed, 
and Lady Carey was visible to our two pilgrims. 

" That is Lady Carey, my lord, widow of Sir 
Reginald, who made himself so conspicuous in 
India." 

" Do you mean the positive little woman who 
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The Storm of London 

followed fashion's dictates, though she kicked, in 
words, at the absurdity of some exaggerated 
garments?" 

"Ah ! but finally submitted to all the caprices of 
the mode, my lord resistance would have been a 
crime of lese-toilette yes, it is she, or at least what 
is left of her a bundle of mannerism and puckered 
flesh, sole survivals of an artificial state. At times 
she is deep, more often frivolous, of a hasty temper 
and a very cold temperament ; in fact, her person- 
ality is made up of full stops. Her brain seems to 
have been built of blind alleys, which lead to 
nowhere. She is suggestive and narrow-minded, 
gushing and worldly-wise ; she never allows 
passion to tear her heart to shreds, but talks freely 
about women's frolics, and tells naughty stories 
with a twinkle in her eye and a pout on her lip. 
What a pity such a woman had missed the coach 
to originality, and had alighted at the first station 
superficiality ! " 

" I say, Dan, can you put a label on that fine 
piece of statuary talking over there to Tom 
Hornsby?" 

" That, my lord, surely you ought to know ha ! 
ha ! ha ! What an ingrate you are ! it is Lady 
Ranelagh. She who reigned over London Society 
by right of her beauty." 

" By right of position, you might add, dear 
Mephisto." 

73 



The Storm of London 

" And finally, my lord, by right of insolence," 
interrupted the little buffoon. 

"She frequently argued with life like a fish- 
wife," went on Lionel, " and few know as well as 
I do what funny questions she put to destiny ; yet 
she never saw her true image in her mental mirror, 
and Society never recoiled from her; but as you 
know, Dan, Society never recoils from any of 
her members : the contract between swindlers 
and swindled is never broken, and if by any 
chance some speck of dirt sticks to one of the 
columns that support the social edifice, Society is 
always ready to pay the costs of whitewash." 

"Yet, my lord, this Carmen of Mayfair is now 
caught in the wheels of the inevitable, and she has 
to face to-day the worst of all judges nature." 

" Do you see that little Tanagra figure leaning 
against the door? there, just in front of you, 
Danford." 

"You mean Lady Hurlingham, my lord, with 
her vermilion cheeks framed in meretriciously 
youthful curls. She is a thorough woman of the 
world." 

" With her, my dear Danford, a man is quite 
safe. She did everything from curiosity, which 
enabled her to reappear unwrinkled and unsullied 
after her varied experience ; she derived all the 
fun she could extract from life without singeing 
the smallest feather of her wings." 
74 



The Storm of London 

" And still, my lord, one could hardly dare to 
whisper an indelicate word before that Greuze- 
like visage." 

" Quite so, dear Mephisto ; those red lips would 
rather kiss than tell, those large melting eyes are 
pure to an uninformed observer. Honi soit 
ha! ha! ha!" 

The sarcastic laughter of the two men was 
drowned by the tuning of a beautiful Stradivarius, 
and for a moment the rising uproar of a London 
At Home was hushed. 

Johann Staub stood near the piano, his long 
brown hair framing a strong Teutonic face, his 
deep, dark eyes roving over the mass of heads 
turned towards him. He played magnificently, 
electric vibrations ran through his leonine mane, 
still, they hardly listened ; the silence that had 
followed his first bars of the Kreuzer Sonata was 
soon broken, as voices one by one resumed their 
interrupted chatting, and the Dowager Lady 
Pendelton, lulled by the heat and the scent of 
exotic flowers, let her senile chin drop on her 
wrinkled breast. She was asleep. Staub ended 
his Sonata, and loud applause broke loose, a kind 
of thanksgiving applause, not in honour of the 
superb way in which the artist had played, but to 
celebrate their relief and satisfaction at his having 
finished. Old women went up to him, pressed his 
hands, asked him to luncheon, to dinner- would 
75 



The Storm of London 

they were young to what would they not invite 
him! The one had heard Paganini "Psh! he 
was no match to you." Another had known 
Beriot very well he was the only one to whom 
he could be compared. Lady Pendelton woke 
suddenly, gave a few approving grunts, her eyes 
still shut, while she struck the parquet with her 
ebony stick. She wanted Mrs Webster to bring 
Staub to her at once, as she would like her grand- 
daughter, Lady Augusta, to have some violin 
lessons. 

" Danford, are you not, like me, struck by the 
incongruity of all this ? " 

" My lord, to-morrow, after breakfast, I shall 
submit to you some of my observations on the 
subject of entertainments. Look at these women 
seated on chairs, these men bending over them. 
Their movements are without grace and their 
hair badly dressed ; we cannot have any more of 
the Patrick Campbell style in our modern 
mythology. Besides, there are too many people 
here, and in this Edenic attire the less people 
you group together, the better the effect." 

" I agree with you, Dan ; but for God's sake let 
us leave this room I see someone approaching 
the piano. Let us be off, I am dying with thirst." 
They edged their way down the staircase, not 
without trouble, for the crowd was coming back 
from partaking of refreshment, and climbing up 
76 



The Storm of London 

the stairs with the renewed vigour that champagne 
and sandwiches give to drawing-room visitors. 
As they jammed sideways through the dining- 
room door, Lionel frowned at the discomfort, and 
Dan, finding himself breast to breast with his 
pupil, murmured to him, 

" I should abolish this barbarous fashion of 
going downstairs to feed at the altar of the tea- 
urn and bread-and-butter. Ah! at last we are 
through ! " 

"The buffet system has always revolted me" 
a shiver ran down Lionel's back. " That kind 
of social bar at which both sexes voraciously 
satisfy their internal craving has, to my mind, 
been a proof of the uncivilised state of 
Society." 

"But the whole thing is based on false pre- 
tences, my lord. Can I get you a glass of 
champagne ? " and he ducked his head between 
two women who were talking loudly and munch- 
ing incessantly. "Parties like these are Zoo 
entertainments at which the pranks of some 
animal are to be viewed ; it is either a foreign 
prince, a cowboy, or a monkey." 

"Very often," added Lionel, sipping his 
champagne, " it is not so original, and only con- 
sists of personal interests; this one is going to be 
introduced to a member of Parliament ; a woman 
is going to meet her lover ; a man to see his future 

77 



The Storm of London 

bride. There is very little sociability in our social 
bazaars, I assure you." 

"Do you see that man leaning against the 
marble mantelpiece, my lord? That is old 
Watson telling a funny story to Lord Petersham." 

" The story must be highly flavoured, for Lord 
Petersham is shaking with laughter." 

" Do not be mistaken, my lord, his lordship 
never laughs at another man's story I know him 
well he is bursting now with a joke he will tell 
old Watson when he has stopped laughing." 

" My dear Dan, we are the rudest nation on 
earth. We stick lightning conductors on the 
statues of our great men, and walk on people's 
toes, only apologising when we happen to know 
them personally. The nobodies are insolent, 
because they wish you to think them somebodies ; 
and the somebodies are arrogant, for they want 
you well to understand that you are nobodies." 

" The room is emptying, my lord, the sun has 
withdrawn its rays and the flowers are drooping 
their tired petals." 

" Let us be off then ! " and Lionel laid his hand 
on Danford's shoulder. "There is old Lady 
Pendelton being wheeled across the hall by her 
footman unless it is her nephew, Lord Robert. 
She pompously looks round as she proceeds 
between the two rows of gazers. She is the 
epilogue of this comedy a sort of ' God Save the 
78 



The Storm of London 

King' unsung! This is all impossible, my dear 
fellow ; this old woman, Mrs Webster, is played out 
in our new era, and the dowagers of the Pendelton 
kind have no place , any more in our reformed 
London." 

The two men left the house and walked into St 
James's Park. 

" I shall give a party, Dick something out of 
the common." 

" Yes, my lord ; they will accept from you what 
they would shirk from anyone else." 

" How ever could these people imagine that our 
present state of nature would admit of these 
social crushes ? Why, the notion of rubbing 
against one's neighbour ought to have deterred 
them from crowding into these rooms." 

" The cause of all this incongruity is laziness, 
my lord apathy of the mind. That defect is the 
fundamental cause of the success of the Con- 
servative policy. It suits the qualities and the 
failings of the race ; and countries have but the 
politics they deserve, someone said. Very true, 
for politics are the expression of a country's inner 
mind. The apathetic must naturally be Tories, 
for they are slow at reforms, and stand in terror 
of social upheavals ; you saw, before the storm, 
how far acquiescence and lethargy could go, you 
will soon see that the country will stand at your 
elbows in all your reforms. It is nonsense talking 
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The Storm of London 

of democracy in England as long as the peerage 
is the goal of all drapers and ironmongers, and, 
had not the Almighty poured water spouts over the 
whole sham and deprived us of our artificial husks, 
we should in time have seen London perish as 
Athens, Rome and Constantinople. You have 
to make the first move, my lord, for in this 
country the masses imitate the upper classes. 
Bear this well in mind : we are essentially caddish, 
so, my lord, make use of the defect to save the 
country." 



CHAPTER VI 

11 You have taken the first step towards the plastic 
reform of London, my lord." 

" Then you think the party was a success ? " 

" A tremendous one ! They have now grasped 
the idea that they have only their skin to cover 
them, and must therefore improve their appear- 
ance, as their artificial tournure has vanished." 

" What do you think of my excluding the old 
dowagers of Society ? " Lionel was enjoying this 
freak of his more than anything he had yet done. 

" Capital, my lord ! Very brave of you. As 
long as you all invited them, they came, because 
they knew no better ; now that you have banished 
them from festivities, they will retire. It is 
simply a question of time, in which a new atavism 
will be developed. Our Society must be taught 
that there is a fitting time for everything for 
learning, and for playing; for sorrow and for 
abdication." 

" Perhaps, Dan, we shall make them see that 

in politics also there is an age for retiring ; for 

we are doomed to be guided by dotards who will 

not acknowledge the necessity of a graceful exit 

F 81 



The Storm of London 

on their part, and who are deaf to the broad hints 
given them." 

" Wait a little, my lord ; Rome was not built in 
one day, and the greatest reforms have been 
effected by trifling incidents. Rest satisfied with 
your first triumph it was complete. You had the 
right number of guests, the marble lounges were 
placed at the right angles of your reception- 
rooms ; the whole thing was in good taste." 

" How did you like my idea of men carrying 
on their shoulders amphoras filled with 
champagne? Rather novel and graceful, wasn't 
it, Dan?" 

"Charming! and the fruit baskets on boys' 
heads were fetching, my lord. It is the first time 
I really enjoyed a peach or a bunch of grapes ; 
it reminded me of the Lake of Como on a hot 
afternoon, lying down on the steps of the Villa 
Carlotta." 

" Yes, I really thought the whole picture was 
pleasing in perspective ; the women reclined on 
their black marble couches with more grace than 
heretofore, which very probably inspired the men 
to move about more harmoniously. You see, Dan, 
Gwendolen never came." 

Danford looked wistfully at his pupil, and 
imperceptibly shrugged his shoulders. 

" Her father, when he came yesterday, told me 
he had not seen her since the storm. It appears 
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The Storm of London 

she persists in closeting herself, and refuses to 
go out. Poor Gwen ! It is abnormal, and 
her brain must give way sooner or later." 

" This is one victim of this new state of nature ; 
there must be some more of these abandoned 
creatures who lost all joy and sympathy in life 
when the storm rent them of their clothes ; but as 
your lordship is aware, this is beyond my power. I 
have undertaken to show you how to know your 
friends, in which art you have made wonderful 
progress ; I only wish my colleagues could say as 
much of all their pupils." 

"Still, my dear fellow, things are looking 
brighter ; I watched a few groups conversing 
yesterday, without the assistance of any guides, 
and Sir Richard Towerbridge actually remem- 
bered me five minutes after he had shaken hands 
with me. But we need more than this, Dick. It 
is all very well recognising one's friends, though at 
present the method of doing so is only empirical ; 
but we long for something more." 

" My lord, how unjust you are. Nothing new ! 
when the Lord Chamberlain has announced 
through the telephone that no Levees nor 
any Drawing-rooms will be held during the 
season ! " 

" My dear Dan, something is lacking in this new 
Society. What is it ? " 

" My lord, the powers of the social guide are 
83 



The Storm of London 

very limited ; he throws out hints, as the sower 
throws the seed ; after that is the great unknown. 
I will teach you how to use your eyes, how to 
move your limbs, how to remember, perhaps how 
to laugh, perchance how to cry, but I cannot teach 
you how to love. This is the hidden closet to 
which we have no key, for the very good reason 
that the door opens from within. In the silence 
of the night, in the peace of lovely gardens, when 
men are far and nature is near, listen to the 
melody singing from within that secret recess, and 
open the door. Then maybe you will see what I 
cannot show you, hear what I cannot make 
audible." 

" Do not trouble about me, dear fellow ; I shall 
never love any mortal woman ! " 

" Is the Paphian already dead in you, my lord ? 
Then indeed you are nearer to the goal than I ever 
believed. I hear the hoofs of your Arab pawing 
the ground of the courtyard." 

Danford looked out of the library window. 

" Yes, it is your chariot. Watkins has carried 
out your idea to perfection, and I congratulate 
your lordship on having once more saved London 
from galling ridicule, in providing for its inhabit- 
ants this suitable mode of conveyance." 

" I think I have also arrived at relegating the 
automobile to country use." 

" There, I think you are wise. The morning is 
84 



The Storm of London 

cool, the drive to Richmond will be lovely ; my 
lord, I must say good-bye to you." 

" A ce soir, Dick." 

The dapper little artist left Lionel and was 
soon out of sight under the trees of Hyde Park, 
while Lionel jumped into his Roman chariot, took 
up the reins and dashed out of the courtyard. He 
drove down Park Lane, turned sharply the corner 
of Hyde Park, taking the straight road to 
Hammersmith. 

Although charioteering was not a violent exer- 
cise like rowing, cricket or football, still it was 
exhilarating, and needed a firmness of posture, 
a suppleness in all movements which had given to 
Lord Somerville's figure a grace formerly hampered 
by stiff collar, waistcoat, and top hat. This new 
fashion of driving was improving the physical 
appearance of the British male; for, the present 
charioteer was no more to be compared to the 
man who had jumped in and out of a hansom, 
than a mythological centaur could be contrasted 
with a rustic crossing a ferry on his cattle. The 
sluggish, indolent exponent of Masherdom fell 
down the very first time he took the reins into his 
hands ; the rigid, unyielding representative of 
soldiery stiffened a little more, and managed to 
keep his balance, though the effect was ugly and 
the result, lumbago. But, little by little, the 
indolent straightened himself, the unbending 
85 



The Storm of London 

relaxed his rigidity; and in a fortnight London 
could boast of a good average of chariot drivers, 
whom even Avilius Teres would not have 
disowned. 

Lionel met many friends on his way to Rich- 
mond ; it was the fashion to drive in the morning 
to neighbouring parks before luncheon. Here was 
Lord Roneldson, who had lost a stone since the 
storm. Poor old Harry ! the first days must have 
been trying to him ! The self-indulgent fop, incap- 
able of the slightest mental or physical effort, had 
had no alternative between standing or falling ; and 
only after many days of bitter experience, had he 
discovered his centre of gravity. There came along 
old Joe Watson, puffing and blowing, redder than 
ever. At his side drove Lord Petersham, who held 
his reins well in hand and felt his steed's mouth 
as tactfully as he did many other things in life. 
He guided Watson through the labyrinth of 
London life, but he had often found his plebeian 
friend's mouth harder to handle than any horse's. 
Watson had been taken up by Petersham, and 
pulled through his election by him, for he was 
member for East Langton. Lord Petersham did 
Watson the signal honour of accepting heavy 
cheques from him before the storm, for which, in 
exchange, he gave him a lift up the social ladder. 
Watson in return helped his Mentor to director- 
ships of several companies, and brought to 
86 



The Storm of London 

his clubs all the bigwigs on the Stock 
Exchange. At times the noble Amphitrion 
muttered under his grey moustache, that they 
were infernal cads, but very soon his steely eyes 
preached common-sense to his tempestuous lips, 
bringing back to his mind the practical philo- 
sophy, " Make use of all," which is, after all, but 
reading backwards, "Forgive everyone." These 
two most antagonistic companions went arm in 
arm along Pall Mall, into clubs, Music Halls and 
all sorts of haunts in which a liberal education is 
afforded to all sorts of men. Watson was very 
proud of his vulgarity, which he called straight- 
forwardness; he was equally vain of his insular 
ignorance, which he benignly termed patriotism ; 
but of all things he was most proud of the shop in 
Oxford Street, where he had for years past walked 
up and down, asking the ladies what was their 
pleasure. He had a few decided opinions, or 
prejudices if you like, which hung round his 
plebeian form like labels, and which no Peer of 
the realm could have torn off: he hated clever 
women, rechercht dinners, and foreign countries. 
His temper was strange ; he was generally of an 
opposing turn of mind on all intellectual subjects 
and of the most agreeing disposition when con- 
ventional topics were on the tapis. He never 
spoke in the House, and no one spoke about him. 
Such men are surely the pillars of a party, for they 
87 



The Storm of London 

never think, never interrupt, and are never 
thought of. They possess a few signposts in 
their brains, and rarely go wherever danger is 
posted up. Such men keep England together, as 
cement fastens the stones safely to one another, but, 
like cement, are ugly and thick. Petersham often 
kicked at this bundle of grotesqueness. Watson 
was so totally devoid of the discerning powers which 
graced his lordship's individuality ; he did not 
know Chambertin from Sauterne, took a Piccadilly 
wench for a Society Aspasia, and was sorely lack- 
ing in the sense of the ridiculous. 

Since this new fashion of vehicle had come in, 
Petersham and Watson got on better together. 
There was a give-and-take in their present life 
which had never existed formerly. To obtain 
something or other under false pretences had been 
a code of morals closely interwoven with the 
Church Catechism and the State constitution, so 
that no loophole had been left through which one 
could see any other standpoint than one's own. 
But since the contents of the shop in Oxford Street 
had vanished into thin air, as the chrysalis withers 
when the insect is formed, old Watson had lost all 
incentive to his pride ; and old Petersham had 
equally lost all motive for his stinging epigrams 
directed at the thick-skinned Plutocrat. Chariot- 
eering through London soon showed these two 
types of distinct worlds that their safety depended 
88 



The Storm of London 

more on their own initiative and prudence than 
on the police. Policemen, we know, had been 
dismissed, and every citizen, from the smallest 
child to the feeblest octogenarian, had to go 
through a course of thoroughfare gymnastics, so 
as to enable them to escape runaway horses ; whilst 
lectures were given in Scotland Yard to instil into 
drivers' minds the true sense of altruism and 
proper regard for the public's safety. This new 
departure in outdoor polity had upset a good many 
pet prejudices of Watson, and knocked out a great 
deal of Petersham's conceit. 

Ah! There darted through Brompton Road 
Tom Hornsby with his comic little face clean- 
shaven. He was one of the few men who had 
taken at once to the chariot; his supple, nervous 
frame and perfect equipoise made him master of 
the art in a few hours. He was a satirist, Tom 
Hornsby ! He had never succeeded in diplomacy, 
nor in his migration to the City jungle, and unable 
to control his outbursts of scurrilous wit, he had 
sharpened his tongue into a steel pen and edited 
the Weekly Mirror. 

There were many more dashing along the 
Hammersmith Road on that lovely summer morn- 
ing ; some had been trained to soldiery, others 
to Parliamentarism, but the majority were in- 
adequately provided with the suitable faculties 
with which to play the game of life. The soldiers 

89 



The Storm of London 

were too spiritless, the politicians too bellicose. 
One little trifle had been omitted in the curriculum 
of a man's education, but such a small item that it 
was hardly worth mentioning for everyone agreed 
that to make a gentleman of a man was the great 
desideratum of college training well, this little 
item neglected in all educations was : the training 
of life. This life-drill, by which all humanity is 
made akin, had been left out of educational pro- 
grammes, and the results of such an omission had 
been painful ; for men like Petersham and Watson 
would walk, dine, drink together, but they no 
more understood each other than if they had been 
two different species. Men were surprising and 
disappointing in this civilisation in which 

" Hatred is by far the longest pleasure ; 
Men love in haste, but detest at leisure." 

Men were at intervals Titans or monkeys. 
Hence the patchiness of life's texture. Titan 
greeted monkey, the latter jeered while the former 
roared ; and that was called Society. 

The first fashionable hostess who followed 
Lionel's hint to Society was the Ambassadress of 
Tartary. One morning she sat wearily in front of 
her Venetian mirror, resting her pensive head on 
her right hand. What endless hours had she spent 
before this same mirror formerly, combining artistic 
shades, using ingenious cosmetics to hide the 
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The Storm of London 

damages done by time ! Now, all these were of no 
earthly use ; nature had stepped in and strongly 
advised women to have silent tete-b-tete with their 
inner souls. She then and there made up her 
mind that the lines round her eyes, and the dis- 
coloration of the flesh of her neck and arms should 
never more be the object of rude stares on the 
part of her guests, and she resolved never more to 
stand at the top of her staircase to greet her 
visitors. Of all places in the house that spot was 
the most unbecoming for complexion, owing to 
the light being badly distributed. The Marquise 
de Veralba represented one of the great nations of 
Europe, at the Court of St. James, and she felt that 
to her had been given the mission of teaching a 
lesson to Englishwomen. Orders were promptly 
given and speedily executed ; carpenters and floral 
decorators were summoned to the marble couch of 
the Marquise, and after a few days the house was 
ready for the projected reception, which she in- 
tended to be a new move in social gatherings. 

As Lionel and Dick walked up the staircase 
decorated with garlands of exotic flowers, they 
found, instead of their hostess, her social guide 
waiting to escort them through the vast rooms of 
the Embassy to an improvised bower of plants, rose 
trees and azaleas. There, on a floral lounge, re- 
clined the Marquise. At first the visitors stood 
amazed before the scene mysteriously lighted by 



The Storm of London 

electric bulbs ensconced in the petals of flowers. 
Gradually they became conscious of her presence, 
and their attention was riveted by the beauty of 
her dark eyes; whilst her voice, subdued by restful 
and homogeneous surroundings, took her friends 
by surprise, as formerly they had been provoked 
at the shrillness of her tone, and the flurry with 
which she was wont to greet them at the top of the 
staircase, unceasingly fanning herself, whether it 
was summer or winter. Well, the fan had gone, 
like so many more useless things ! 

It was an interesting evening that one at 
Madame la Marquise's. In the first place it re- 
vealed to an ignorant Society that a new beauty 
could be given to evanescent youth and departed 
charms. Then they realised that they had not 
made great progress in the art of observation and 
still had need of their guides ; and having con- 
sciously, during the last weeks, lost a good deal 
of the old false pride, they talked indiscriminately 
to those standing or sitting near them, although 
they ignored the name, social standing, or bank- 
ing account of the person they were addressing. 
Was not courtesy after all the best policy in an 
emergency? Thus acted Society prompted by 
personal interest, it is true but we are not to 
look too closely at the strings that move the 
limbs of human marionettes. 

" That is all very well, Dick," said Lionel, " but 
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The Storm of London 

how will you hint to a waning beauty that a 
shady bower is the best place for her to ponder 
the vanities of this world and the greater glory 
of the next? You see, the Marquise has a long 
lineage of witty women behind her, and in this 
emergency her wit and taste have no more failed 
her than they deserted the brilliant women of the 
Renaissance who united the wisdom of life with 
intellectual supremacy." 

" Your lordship is right, there are no laws to 
enforce woman to resign her social post ; but, her 
mirror is her assize, and it sits night and day in 
judgment over her declining bloom ; whilst self- 
interest and opportunism will suggest to her many 
ways of avoiding ridicule. Mind you, my lord, I 
firmly believe that this new mode of life will 
keep us all young much longer, for we shall 
have to improve our personal appearance 
through diet, instead of reverting to unbending 
corsets and padded limbs, to restore the 
injuries done to the human figure by continual 
intemperance." 

The Earl, leaning on a porphyry column, gazed 
at his surroundings. He was struck by the loveli- 
ness and simplicity around him; the red-brocaded 
panels had vanished from the walls, and left the 
plain white wainscot, which of course had been re- 
painted ; all superficial luxury was gone, only a few 
lovely Louis XVI. tables remained in the room, 
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The Storm of London 

whilst a few gold-caned settees were scattered 
about, and at right angles stood a few pink and 
black marble lounges. 

"Danford, look at that woman over there talk- 
ing to Tom Hornsby; whoever she may be, she 
has already acquired a firmness of footing, a 
single-mindedness of posture that really delights 
me. Still, Dan no Gwendolen ! " 

" You seem to be very anxious about her, my 
lord. I heard last night from several lady guides, 
that many of the girls engaged last season could 
not bring themselves to meet the men they had 
chosen. You can hardly believe that the same 
girl who, a few weeks ago, fearlessly exposed all 
her moral ugliness and mental deficiency, could 
blush to-day at the idea of allowing her 'fianct* 
to see her as God made her." 

" Do not remind me of that Inferno, Dan ; you, 
my Virgil, must show me beauty, not disfigure- 
ment ; purity, not indelicacy. But is this all we 
are able to do for ourselves ? " and Lionel looked 
all around him. " We have no doubt arrived at a 
certain physical discipline, I grant you that the 
faddiest nincompoop has managed to pull himself 
together and could, at a stretch, run a chariot 
race with any champion of the Roman Empire. 
I also think that our social intercourse is taking 
a turn for the better ; but you cannot deny that 
we are at a standstill. What is to happen next ? 
94 



The Storm of London 

We are completely isolated from the rest of the 
world ; no one comes to England from abroad, 
since the storm, and no one goes out of the 
island." 

" Ah ! only a matter of false pride on the part 
of the Britishers, my lord, and as to the foreigners 
not coming to England at present, I should give 
no thought to that. They very probably believe 
us to be the prey of a Boer invasion, and by this 
time every nation is celebrating in all their 
churches the disappearance of the British 
Empire." 

" You are always turning everything into a 
joke, my dear fellow ; still, the problem remains 
the same : what are we going to do with our new 
state of nature ? Then we have no newspapers ! 
We know nothing of what is going on." 

" I think, my lord, that newspapers told us more 
of what was not going on than anything else. We 
have written enough ; let us think, now that we 
are condemned to a sort of isolation. Now is 
your chance, my lord, and for your party to solve 
the problem ; for no one can really help you out 
of this but yourselves." 

"You must not forget, Dick, that there are 
thousands of men and women without any work, 
owing to this breakdown of the factories. Those 
have to be thought of, or else we shall perish in 
an East-End invasion." 

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The Storm of London 

" It is no worse than a general strike, my lord. 
I saw a few of the Music Hall artists of the Mile- 
End Road, Hackney and Poplar, and they all say 
the same thing : the people are not at all thinking 
of rioting; the injustice of their condition is 
robbed of its bitter sting, because they know all 
England and all classes to be in the same predica- 
ment. Besides, they do not believe for one 
minute that this condition will last, and are con- 
vinced there will be a recrudescence of luxury, 
and therefore work, to compensate their present 
loss a thousandfold." 

" Lucky state of bliss is that apathy, so wrongly 
called self-control ! But I am asking for more, 
Dick, for I am not wholly satisfied with the 
remedies you have suggested to me, and I thirst 
for something fabulous." 

" Your lordship is fastidious, but I have told 
you before: we give hints, we do not develop 
theories. Look inwardly, my lord, and perhaps 
in that secret chamber of which I spoke to you 
will you see something to arrest your attention." 



96 



CHAPTER VII 

LIONEL was not listening to his companion any 
longer ; his mind had wandered from the East- 
End to the present scene, and gradually losing 
sight of his surroundings, his eyes lingered 
rapturously on a feminine form of unsurpassed 
beauty. Her elbow resting on an Etruscan vase, 
she leaned her soft cheek on the palm of her hand 
and looked up inquiringly at a portrait by Lely, 
representing the ancestress of one of our fashion- 
able women. Lionel had never seen such grace, 
such simplicity the word innocence fluttered 
on his lips, but soon vanished ; he had rarely 
connected that quality with any of the women of 
his world. But, innocent or not, the form before 
him was faultless ; the setting of the head on the 
shoulders perfect, the Grecian features radiantly 
pure. Who could she be ? No matter, she was 
beauty, womanhood, that was sufficient, and it 
rilled his heart with beatitude to gaze on such 
perfection without having to read the label 
attached to it. Dick was right, no guide could 
G 97 



The Storm of London 

enlighten him as to what were his feelings. He 
had never seen her before ; no doubt, she was a 
foreigner landed here on the day of the storm. 
Greece alone could have given birth to such a 
symmetric form and such harmony of move- 
ments. He moved away from his porphyry 
column as in a trance, leaving Danford to 
converse with a celebrity who wanted to know 
who someone else was ; on his approaching the 
unknown beauty, his eyes lingered more intently 
on her exquisite face, and he contemplated her 
lovely hazel eyes shaded by long dark eyelashes. 
It was the only thing a man could contemplate 
now a woman's face ; for, however demoralised a 
man might be, he defied him from ever behaving 
indelicately to a woman in the state of nature. 
As he came close to her, she dropped her eyelids 
and levelled her gaze to his ; they looked into 
each other's eyes and they loved. 

" Allow me to lead you to a lounge, you seem 
tired." 

"Thank you, I am not tired," answered a 
musical voice ; and her velvety eyes drank deep 
at the fountain of love that flowed from his eyes. 
" I was far away, transported into the world 
evoked by this picture. I tried to divine the 
thoughts of this notorious beauty at the Stuarts' 
Court, and the vision became so vividly real, that 
I could see her take up her blue scarf and raise it 
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The Storm of London 

in front of her face as she blushed in looking at 
my nakedness." 

" I should have thought the model who sat for 
this portrait could have easily beheld our 
mythological world without having to lift her 
scarf to hide her confusion. I do not think she 
was renowned for the purity of her life, nor for 
the nicety of her language." 

" The more reason for her inability to look 
nature in the face. Nature is too amazing to 
those trained to artifice. The glory of a sunset 
would be blinding to those who never had seen 
its reflection but on houses or pavements." 

How adorably sensitive was her mouth ; he 
remembered having seen, in Florence, expressions 
like hers. The divine Urbinite had excelled in 
delineating these touching faces. 

" It is getting late. If you are thinking of 
leaving, will you allow me to escort you ? " She 
laid her hand on his, and without a word they 
left the room. 

One by one the guests returned to the secret 
bower to say a courteous adieu to the Marquise 
a thing which formerly had not been frequently 
witnessed it had been so irritating to see that 
perpetual grin on her lips, that incessant fan- 
ning, and, above all, to watch her sliding 
scale of good-byes, which had become alarmingly 
tedious. 

99 



The Storm of London 

The Adam and Eve of " London regained " 
slowly descended the marble staircase, passed 
through the hall, out of the front door, and 
found themselves on the pavement as un- 
concerned about their surroundings as if they 
had dropped straight from a planet. They gazed 
at each other, and in that luminous orb of the 
visual organ, they discovered the only world for 
which it was worth living or dying. 

" I do not know who you are, and I do not 
desire to know, until you have answered my 
questions. This I know, that you love me; my 
love is too great not to be echoed by yours. What 
we feel for one another is above all worldly con- 
siderations, what we can give each other is beyond 
what the world can give or take away. Will you 
accept the life devotion of a man who has never 
loved until this day ? I blush at what I used to 
call love and shall never profane your ears 
with a recital of what men call their conquests." 

" I accept the gift of your heart and of your life, 
and I give you mine in exchange. I have never 
loved either." She lifted her pure face to his ; a 
cloud rushed across the sky, leaving the pale moon 
to illumine the young couple walking in silence in 
their dreamland. After a long pause Lionel 
spoke. 

"Where shall I escort you? Where is your 
home?" 

100 



The Storm of London 

"Will you take me to Hertford Street, 
No. 1 10?" 

" Gwendolen ! " 

" Lionel ! " 

And both looked down, for the first time suffused 
with shame at discovering their identity. Con- 
fusion overwhelmed him, not at their present state, 
but at the sudden thought of their past lives of 
indelicacy. He was the first to break the silence, 
for man, being essentially practical, must at once 
know more about what he finds out; and an 
Englishman above all must necessarily investigate 
his newly-conquered dominion. Perhaps this is 
the reason for their being such good colonists; 
they do not gaze long at the stars and sunsets 
of a new Continent, but very promptly turn to 
business, and to what they can make out of their 
discovery. 

"What have you been doing all these last 
weeks, Gwen ? " 

She told him what her occupations had been ; 
they were limited, it was true, but they had helped 
to open her eyes on a few of life's problems. 

" Have you been shut up in your room ever 
since the storm ? " 

" Nearly, with the exception of the day of the 
first exodus, when I felt I must either have some 
air, or die. I have been out once or twice since, at 
unearthly hours of the morning ; but this is the 

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The Storm of London 

first party I have been at I could not risk meeting 
you. I had pictured our meeting very differently 
from what it has been ; I dreaded it, and little 
imagined this would be the end of it." 

"No, sweetheart," interrupted her lover, "you 
mean, the beginning of our life. Tell me all you 
did at home." 

" I have studied more, my dear Lionel, in these 
last weeks than in all my life before, including my 
school days. My books have been the sun 
rising and setting, the stars and the birds' 
twitterings ; I have thought of poetry, philosophy, 
and history " 

" Poor Gwen, how dull it must have been ! 
Fancy you studying the works of nature, and 
imagining that you are a philosopher ! " 

" You are cruel, Lionel." 

" Forgive me, Gwen. I am more than cruel, I 
am unjust, for I am the last who ought to scoff or 
reprove. I stand here as a repentant sinner, only 
begging to kiss your hand and to be allowed to 
gaze on your beauty." 

" Lionel, believe me, I thought a great deal." 

" Could you not telephone to your friends ? " 

" Telephone ! What for, and to whom ? When I 
think of the bundle of wires I used to despatch, 
and of the trayful of cards and notes the footman 
was wont to hand to me ; each one in view of 
some Ranelagh meeting, a box for a first night, a 

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The Storm of London 

Saturday to Monday invitation, and many more 
important nothings which formed the epopee of my 
London life ! But who would have cared to know 
of my inner thoughts, of my heart's desires ? We 
shall have to learn a new language before we can 
write again, Lionel ; for the phraseology that 
suited the shams of our past life would be in- 
appropriate in our Paradise regained." 

" Did you see your father ? " 

" Ah ! Lionel, he is the very last one I could 
have set eyes on ! I have not seen him since the 
Islington Tournament. How long ago that 
seems. I heard a fortnight ago, through my 
guide, Nettie Collins, that he only came home on 
the day of the first exodus ! " 

" Perhaps you have seen him, Gwen, but not 
known him again. Guides are no good in these 
family relationships." 

" I must say candidly that philosophy was too 
much for me. I can, as yet, only grasp what 
touches my heart. We shall talk much, think 
deeply, you and I, my dearest Ly." 

" Not that name, dearest ! It burns your sweet 
lips. It was the synthesis of the false life you and 
I lived." 

" Then it shall be, Lion. My Lion will you be ? " 

" Yes, your Lion, my beautiful Una." 

" Tell me ; why have you never loved ? A man 
is free, and has every opportunity to choose ; it is 

103 



The Storm of London 

not like us women, who are told from infancy what 
we are worth and what kind of market the world 
is." 

" Love did not enter into the programme of my 
school life, Gwen. Had love been part of educa- 
tion, I doubt whether our old world would have 
lasted as long as it did. It is because love has 
had no fair play for centuries that injustice, 
hypocrisy and tyranny have ruled unmolested. 
Love may be, in words, the principle by which all 
things are ordained, but hatred is the real pass- 
word, and we are so accustomed to the clever 
trickery that we do not detect the fraud." 

" But was not your father fond of you ? " 

" He took me to Italy several times during my 
long vacations. I remember being taken by him 
to the Uffizi Gallery and being told to look at the 
pictures ; I used to stand transfixed in front of 
Raphael's Madonnas. Then dad would turn up 
too soon with some Italian lady whom he had 
no doubt picked up by appointment and my 
ream was over." 

" And your mother, Lion, was she pleased when 
you came home? You must have been such a 
dear boy!" 

" Home ! Mother ! I can hardly articulate the 
sacred words." 

" Tell me about her ; for of course I have only 
heard what the world had to say of her, of her 
104 



The Storm of London 

reckless life and tragic death in the hunting- 
field ; but I want you to tell me, for between 
us there can never be any secret, nor any 
subterfuge." 

"Tell you, Gwen ; there is so little to tell. The 
lives of fashionable women are not so full of 
adventures as the lower classes seem to think. It 
is not for the things they do they should be 
blamed, but for all they do not do. There are a 
great many legends about Society women that 
are, in fact, but twaddly prose ; there is a great 
deal of fuss all round a fashionable beauty, and 
very little worth fussing about. Spite and vanity 
are at the root of many rotten homes. I know 
my home was an arid desert, because my father 
never forgave my mother for having brought him 
to the altar ; and she vented her spite on him by 
compromising herself with every man available 
or unavailable. The more my father showed his 
contempt to her, the more she threw herself into 
a vortex of frivolity. Her vanity could only 
equal her coldness. Her curse was to be incap- 
able of any love. She never for one instant loved 
the man she inveigled into matrimony ; she never 
cared a jot for her children, and she certainly had 
no passion, however ephemeral it might have 
been, for any of the men with whom she com- 
promised herself. In this lies the ghastliness 
of such lives. Were there more bona-fide 

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The Storm of London 

passion, there would be less cruelty and less 
levity." 

" Go on, Lionel." 

" I never once saw my mother lean over the cot of 
her child ; she rarely entered the nursery, and we 
only came down at stated hours to be looked at by 
visitors. These ordeals were painful. To appear 
motherly, my mother occasionally laid her hand 
on my curly head. Ah ! those fingers scintillat- 
ing with diamonds and precious stones; those 
hard bracelets penetrating into my delicate skin ! 
How I loathed that hand on my head it was such 
a hard hand." 

" Poor Lionel, but you do not say how your 
little sister died." 

" The least said about it the better. There are 
noble griefs, and there are ugly sorrows : mine 
was of the latter order. When Cicely died, my 
mother was at a State Ball. She knew the child 
was hopelessly ill before she went, but a dress had 
arrived that morning from Paris, and a State Ball 
is a duty ; in fact, all social functions are duties 
which come before mere human feelings. After 
so many years, I can still see that gorgeous ap- 
parition as she came into the room to speak to 
the hospital nurse. I did not understand the 
meaning of it all, but felt awed by the soft mur- 
murs of the nurse, the dim light, and the haughty 
manner of my mother. Next day the nursery 
106 



The Storm of London 

was closed ; I was kept in the room of the head 
nurse to play with my toys, and told severely not 
to make a noise. I asked for Cicely. The under- 
housemaid, a good sort of a country girl, took me 
by the hand and led me into the room where little 
Cicely was laid out. One bunch of narcissus was 
lying on her feet; they were the nurse's last tribute 
to her little dead patient. And that was all. I 
realised nothing, I was seven years old. The 
days that followed were miserable ; I missed my 
playmate and was daily brought down to my 
mother's boudoir, to be interviewed by simpering 
old dowagers who gave me a cold kiss, and 
waggish young men who shook hands with me and 
called me " old fellow," as if I had already entered 
some crack regiment, or won the Derby. My 
mother, in her diaphanous black chiffon, distributed 
cups of tea right and left, while she related in 
short sentences the end of little Cicely and the 
brilliancy of the State Ball." 

" When I think, Lionel, that you and I were on 
the eve of repeating that same lamentable 
story " 

" Enough of this horrid past, my beautiful 
Una; let us forget that it ever existed, and 
let us think of the present, of you, and of our 
future." 

They had reached Hyde Park Corner. 
Gwendolen gave a circuitous glance on the 

107 



The Storm of London 

scene that surrounded them, and remarked that 
the Duke of Wellington's statue had disappeared. 

" Where has the statue gone to, Lion ? " 

" Oh ! Did you not know that it had been 
removed yesterday? You will never any more 
see Nelson on his column, Gordon holding his 
Bible, Napier with his gilded spurs, nor Canning, 
Disraeli, and so many others, on their pedestals 
they have all been taken to South Kensington, 
for the present. The idea is to build a new hall 
outside London for all these relics of the past, 
where they may be viewed by the very few who 
are anxious to study the curios of an old worn-out 
civilisation. The Committee has come to the con- 
clusion that our newly-revealed sense of modesty 
must inevitably be shocked by these indecorous 
memorials to our great men ; and it has decided 
that the education of the masses must at once 
begin by the removal of objects more fit for a 
chamber of horrors than for the contemplation of 
pure-minded citizens." 

" But what will they put on the pedestals and 
columns ? " 

" I heard the curator of Walsingham House 
say last evening that he meant to suggest a new 
departure in monument erection. Instead of 
paying a tribute to the man who, as a soldier, a 
poet, or a statesman, had but done his duty 
during his short visit to this planet, he advised 
1 08 



The Storm of London 

that monuments should be raised to abstract 
principles, and enjoined the Committee to start 
by replacing the equestrian Duke of Wellington 
with the detruncated statue of Victory in the 
Elgin Marbles collection. Gwen, we are at your 
door, and we must part. When shall I see you 
again, dearest ? " 

" To-morrow in the Kensington Gardens, under 
the shady trees, we shall be able to talk of all the 
problems we must solve together." 

"Good-night, my Una. How lovely you are, 
thus caressed by the soft rays of the moon. Have 
I never gazed into a woman's face before, that I 
seem to see your eyes for the first time ? I have 
now discovered the secret of inward beauty, and 
wherever you are, however surrounded you may 
be, I shall know you, for I have seen your soul. 
My whole life will be too short in which to express 
my rapturous admiration. Forgive me for the 
past years of blindness." 

" Lion, it is I who have to beg your forgiveness. 
I never knew you I never knew my own self. 
Was it our fault after all ? It had never been our 
lot to meet as two free citizens of the Universe ; 
but, like two miserable slaves of Society, we were 
trained to trick each other, and to play a 
blasphemous parody of love, while malice all the 
time was master of our fettered beings." 

The door of No. no opened and closed on the 
109 



The Storm of London 

vision of purity. Lionel walked up Park Lane 
and soon reached his home ; he entered the 
library, and once more looked up at his father's 
portrait. Was it fancy ? But he thought he saw 
the face smile superciliously, and heard these 
cold words fall from the thin lips : " My poor 
fellow, beware of sentimentality. As I told you, 
I preferred being killed to being bored." 



no 



CHAPTER VIII 

A FEW days after, Dick Dan ford was at his 
master's house; he walked nimbly through the 
hall and reached the Roman bath Lionel had 
now constructed for his use. He had started 
the fashion of receiving his friends at the late 
hour of the afternoon, five o'clock, in what the 
Romans called the Frigidarium. Those who 
wished to bathe could do so in the marble 
swimming-bath cut out in the centre of the hall, 
others who only came to converse sat in the 
recess carved into the surrounding wall, or stood 
against the pilasters which divided the recesses. 
There, for an hour or two, they discussed past 
doings, foreshadowed events ; wit was acclaimed, 
philosophy commended. As Dan entered he 
viewed a gay scene : Lionel just stepping out of 
the bath, meeting his valet, Temple, ready to 
friction his body with the strigil a sort of flesh 
brush others, like George Murray the novelist, 
and Ronald Sinclair the art critic, sitting in 
recesses ; whilst many of the Upper Ten and the 
artistic world splashed and dived in the piscina. 
" Here comes Dan ! " proclaimed Lionel, 
in 



The Storm of London 

" What news since I last saw you ? I have 
missed you much these two days ; but I daresay 
your business was pressing." 

" Hail, Danford ! the surest, safest, most com- 
forting of all guides ! While we sip our tea tell us 
the town news." This was Tom Hornsby, 
reclining in one of the recesses. The splashing 
ceased, they one after another grouped them- 
selves some in the niches, the rest lying down, 
whilst Danford, standing against a pilaster, 
surveyed with intense satisfaction this picture of 
recherch^ cleanliness, and inhaled the fragrance of 
exquisite perfumes. 

" Plenty of news, gentlemen. First of all, the 
Bishop of Sunbury " 

" Oh ! my old prelate of the Islington Tourna- 
ment ? Excuse me, Dan, for interrupting you." 

" Yes, my lord, the very same has decided to 
preach a sermon at St Paul's on the new Society 
he is organising." 

" What is that, Dick ? " 

" It is a profound secret, my lord," answered 
Dick as he bowed courteously. 

" Well, mind you tell me when it comes off," 
said Lionel. 

" Still no news of the war, Danford ? " broke in 
Lord Mowbray, the amateur mimic. 

" How can there be when we receive no letters. 
Perhaps the War Office has important wires from 

112 



The Storm of London 

the seat of war, although it has not com- 
municated them to the public. But it is strange 
how little the war has affected Society ; the heavy 
blows that have fallen on nearly everyone in your 
circles have arrived very much softened by 
distance ; and it seems really as if the whole 
tragedy were being acted in some other planet. 
Besides which, has not college and home life 
taught well-bred people to bear with fortitude all 
mishaps and sorrow? Civilisation is a thick ice 
which covers the current rushing beneath it ; you 
must wait for a crack on the surface, to be able to 
notice which way runs the stream." 

" I suppose you would consider the London 
storm a crack on the surface, would you ? " 
ironically inquired Sinclair, lighting a cigarette. 

" By all means, Mr Sinclair, and those who 
have watched carefully through the crevice must 
have seen that, for a long time, we have been 
going the contrary way of the tide." 

" I do not know how it is to end no regiments 
have been ordered out since our catastrophe." 
This was Lord Mowbray again, who was not fond 
of ethics and preferred coming back to facts. 

"The passing of regiments through the town 
would turn out a failure in our present condition," 
retorted Danford. " No windows would be thrown 
open, no hearty cheers would rejoice the hearts of 
departing warriors ; that excitement is over for 
H 113 



The Storm of London 

ever it was even on the wane before we stood as 
we are now. I often wonder why Society did not 
raise a regiment of Duchesses and Peeresses? 
That would have fetched the masses, and perhaps 
might have provoked a general surrendering of 
the enemy to an Amazon battalion ; for certainly 
the novelty of the enterprise, and the incontestable 
beauty of the Peeresses' physique, would do a 
great deal towards enlivening the old rotten game 
of warfare. But they missed the opportunity of 
putting new wine into old bottles, and now it is 
too late. After all, patriotism is only a question 
of coloured bunting: tear down the flags, and 
nationality will die a natural death." 

"What a sans patrie you are, Mr Danford," 
contemptuously said Lord Mowbray, whose con- 
ception of Fatherland reduced itself to a season 
in London, a summer in Switzerland, and a winter 
on the Riviera. 

" Danford is an unconscious prophet," remarked 
Lionel, " for it is clear to whoever observes 
minutely the evolution of nationalities that we are 
all unwittingly working at the creation of a vast 
humanity. The more man will know of man 
and it is impossible he should do otherwise, when 
you consider the map of the world and view the 
huge cobweb of railways which unite countries to 
one another the more, I repeat, man will know 
of man, the fainter will become frontiers which 
114 



The Storm of London 

have for so long separated human beings and 
turned them into enemies. The first time that 
men of different nationalities met and shook hands 
in a universal Exhibition, that day a muffled knell 
was heard in the far distance announcing the slow 
agony of nationalities. But it is again a question 
of the thick ice over the current. Progress in 
every branch is the name for which we labour and 
suffer; but conquest is the real aim of all our 
strenuous efforts. We have too long minimised 
the power of the current, and one day, whether 
we like it or not, we shall have to go where it 
leads us." 

" You are quite didactic, my dear Lionel," said 
Lord Mowbray, who since the storm looked on 
his host with suspicion, and on all social guides 
in general, and Danford in particular, with con- 
tempt. He had absolutely declined to avail 
himself of the services of Music Hall artists, 
relying on his own powers of observation to guide 
him through life. He had even gone so far as to 
seek an engagement as a guide himself; but 
Society, however it may pat on the back every 
amateur or exponent of mediocrity, has the 
wisdom, in emergencies, to draw the line and to 
appeal to the professionals who, they well know, 
do not fail in technique. Lord Mowbray was 
therefore unemployed and generally uninformed. 
Left to his own conceit and ignorance, he con- 



The Storm of London 

stantly made the most terrible mistakes in 
drawing-rooms, and ignored the public guides 
stationed at different corners of crowded 
thoroughfares, who had taken the place of old- 
fashioned constables; to these guides Mowbray 
would never apply, passing them with haughty 
disdain. Each day he committed every conceiv- 
able faux pas ; bowing to his friends' butlers, 
passing by ignominiously his smart friends ; in 
fact, he was the laughing-stock of Society, although 
he was blatantly happy and thoroughly un- 
conscious of his folly. 

"What I really came for this afternoon, my 
lord," suddenly broke in Danford, "was to tell 
you of a very serious reform in our new mode of 
life or, at least, death. There are to be no more 
funeralsJ " 

" What do you mean ? " 

" You are joking ! " 

" No more burials ? " 

" Are we to be thrown away like dogs and 
cats?" 

" How are you going to hand us over to the 
other side ? " 

All these indignant questions fell like a volley 
on Danford the imperturbable, who looked at his 
pupil. 

" We again need your support, my lord. This 
is the point : without plumes, palls, muffled drums, 
116 



The Storm of London 

mutes, how are we to know a Peer's obsequies 
from a pauper's ? The chairman of our Committee 
put it to me in these words yesterday : ' My dear 
Dan, try and make Society leaders see that 
complete privacy in that last and not least 
important function is of most vital import, if they 
wish to keep up a certain prestige.' I promised 
to mention this to you, and I must add that I am 
struck myself with the unfitness of a lord of the 
realm having no better funeral than a vagabond ; 
it seems to me irrelevant." 

" There is the rub of this new state of ours ; it 
has awakened in us the sense of the incongruous," 
remarked George Murray. " We used not to be 
so discriminate, and what struck me most, formerly, 
was the total lack of humour in people who passed 
for witty." 

" I cannot tell you," warmly proceeded Danford, 
" how shocked I have been at fashionable funerals. 
There was a time when women did not consider 
it delicate to attend such functions ; it was left to 
the sterner sex to accompany a beloved parent, 
whose female relations remained at home to 
mourn over their loss. But women are not any 
more to be put aside so easily ; they have invaded 
the smoke-room, banged open the doors of City 
offices ; it is not likely they would remain long 
away from graveyard excitement. The last I was 
at, a few weeks before the storm, was a sight, and 



The Storm of London 

the pitch of levity to which it rose fairly sickened 
me. Had I not pinched myself, and rubbed my 
eyes, I could have believed myself at an At Home. 
The hostess, a widow, was going from one guest 
to another, shaking hands with the one, thanking 
the other for coming ; the bereaved daughters 
skipped over tombs and newly-digged graves to 
have a word with this one and that one. I 
instinctively looked round, thinking I might see 
an improvised buffet in the shade of a mausoleum ; 
I quite expected to see plates of sandwiches 
handed round, and to hear the jingling of spoons 
and cups and saucers. Upon my soul, I have no 
doubt that had not the storm put a stop to 
Society's doings, we should have been treated this 
season to a churchyard tea and a funeral cake. 
The idea seized hold of me then, and a fit of 
laughter choked me, when I thought what a good 
termination to this gruesome farce it would be, 
were the lamented defunct, on whom they had 
dropped a shovelful of cut flowers, just to stand 
up and apostrophise them thus : * I say, do not 
quite forget it is all owing to me that you are 
having all this fun ! ' For I assure you they were 
entirely oblivious of the poor departed in the 
excitement of small-talk. Of course all this is at 
an end practically, and funerals have been quite 
neglected latterly, for this very good reason that 
the mourners did not know each other; we are 
nS 



The Storm of London 

therefore saved from the sad spectacle of levity 
and callousness which were the distinct traits of 
our past Society." 

"Then what is to be done, Dan?" inquired 
Lionel. 

" Well, there is nothing to be done except to be 
cremated unostentatiously. 'Let the dead bury 
their dead ' ; but Society decided otherwise, for it 
was the living that despatched the dead, which 
was a most unequal job." 

" I wonder what will be the ultimate result of 
all these reforms ? " lazily said George Murray. 
" If you reform burials, you must also some day 
reform marriage ; you will find a great deal of 
incongruity and of levity in that ceremony also ; 
then will follow the reform of the relations 
between the sexes, between employers and 
employees, and goodness only knows what next. 
You will have your work cut out for you, my poor 
Danford ; and dear Lionel's mission will not be a 
sinecure if he has to patronise every scheme your 
Committee brings forward." 

" You have my entire assent to every reform 
you may suggest to me, Dan," concluded Lionel, 
smiling at his guide, who remarked that he had 
never yet seen that smile on his pupil's lips nor 
ever remarked that look in his eyes ; he was sure 
something new had happened to illumine the face 
of the Mayfair cynic. 

119 



The Storm of London 

" I am afraid you will come in for a good share 
in this evolution, Murray," and Lionel turned his 
face towards the novelist. " Fiction as you con- 
ceive it is a thing of the past. Clothes and 
environment have clung like a Nessus robe round 
your feminine heroines and masculine personages, 
and given them a rag-shop philosophy. Tear the 
bandages that swathed your fictional humanity, 
and send into the open air your dramatis personcz, 
to compete, fight and win in the race of life. You 
have believed yourself long enough the apostle of 
subtle psychology and of morbid physiology ; for 
once be the humble disciple of Dame Nature, 
for she is now turning her bull's-eye lantern right 
into your face and making you squint." 

" My lord is right," crowed the mischievous 
buffoon. " I feel sure your publisher will not bring 
out your next book ; sorry for you, old fellow, but 
you see there is no money in it any more. I saw 
Christopher a few days ago, and he led me to 
understand that the kind of fiction you excelled 
in will not appeal any longer to the general public. 
One of the two ; either the feminine reader is one 
who harbours a sickly regret for her past toggery, 
or she is a modern woman won over to the cause 
of true modesty. In the first case she will throw 
your book away, for it will make her feel discon- 
tented with her present state ; and in the latter 
instance she will shut your pages while blushes 

120 



The Storm of London 

will cover her lovely cheeks at the mere thought 
of anything so indecent as clothes. But, of 
course, I forget that the books published now will 
necessarily be very limited, as parchment is the 
only available material on which written thought 
can be printed." 

" And an excellent thing it is. We have 
written too much written ourselves dry ; and now 
has come a breathing-time in which we shall be 
able to incubate." This was Tom Hornsby, who 
indeed had written himself to dessication in the 
Weekly Mirror. " We have game laws, and we 
know precious well how to enforce them. Why 
should we compel our sapless brains to generate 
when we know so well their incapacity even to 
conceive ? Brains are no more inexhaustible 
than is the cow's milk ; still, we do not give to the 
children of our minds the proper breeding period, 
and we hail the events of our abortions as if it 
were the advent of some divine prophecy." 

" That is about what old Christopher led me to 
understand," said Danford. " But, however well 
these abortions may have paid formerly, he knows 
now that they will not satisfy an Edenic public 
any longer. Publishers are first-rate at feeling the 
public's pulse." 

" I wonder they were not chosen as social 
guides instead of Music Hall artists," retorted 
Mowbray, who never failed to have a hit at his rivals. 
121 



The Storm of London 

" We thought of them, Lord Mowbray, but, after 
careful consideration, we judged that publishers 
having been trained to convert human brains into 
ingots of gold, they would hardly be suitable for 
our social work, which consists more especially, at 
present, in developing the extrinsic knowledge of 
individuals." 

" It is a pity that nothing has been done to- 
wards organising a body of Parliamentary guides." 
Lord Mowbray was again at his pet grievance ; 
he had never forgiven the Speaker for refusing to 
accept his services in the House, and he was con- 
vinced that the country's ruin and Parliamentary 
decadence would be the results of their refusal. 

" Oh ! that has been the worst nut to crack ; 
but we had to give it up," and Danford sat down 
in one of the marble niches ensconced in the wall. 
" The House of Commons has its suceptibilities, 
its vanities, and, above all, its traditions ; and 
it would not hear any of our suggestions. Just 
imagine for one minute, Ministers of State, Party 
leaders, being escorted by guides! The idea 
appeared preposterous to the Honourable 
Members, who thought they knew their own 
business better than any one else." 

"Certainly, at first, it seems natural to know 
one's own party," murmured Lionel as in a dream ; 
" but in the long run it becomes more difficult 
than one imagines." 

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The Storm of London 

" It must evidently be the case," said Tom 
Hornsby in a bitter voice, " for you see what a 
hash they made with the Housing question. The 
House carried unanimously the Bill which, for a 
long time, had been obstructed at its second 
reading." 

"Very remarkable indeed," sententiously said 
Danford. " I was there that day, and enjoyed the 
fun gloriously. I watched the House eagerly. 
The social and political labels were off, so they 
all listened unprejudiced to the orator's convincing 
arguments. His reasons were not so much con- 
vincing from his own powers of persuasion, but 
because the listeners were off their guard and 
therefore accessible to rational impressions; and 
here we are the richer for one good law, and one 
that we never could have hoped for had Society 
continued to know one another by their exterior 
labels." 

" This will inevitably lead to the dissolution of 
the Upper House," said Lionel. 

" It remains with you to give the hint of 
abdication, my lord." The little buffoon stood 
up and faced his pupil, while Temple, the empty 
cup in his hand, stood between the two, alternately 
looking at the one and the other. The group 
of men surrounding them were silent; and the 
sun, having slowly disappeared behind the trees 
of Hyde Park, had left the Frigidarium in a 

123 



The Storm of London 

mysterious twilight most appropriate to the 
ominous words of Danford. " They will all follow 
your lordship. The reform must come from 
within. The dark days are over when you said to 
the rushing wave of the people : ' Thou shalt go no 
further.' They leapt over the rocks then, and, to 
prove their power, cut your heads off; which on 
the whole was a poor argument of persuasion, 
even if it was one of force. No lasting reform can 
be obtained but from within; and the Upper 
House has it in its power to avert the catastrophe 
of its downfall by taking voluntarily a leading 
part in all the reforms of our Society." 

" You mean by taking a back seat," sniggered 
Lord Mowbray. The spell was broken, and the 
twilight scene of prophecy was transformed into 
one of malicious discord. " I cannot see what 
you want with the co-operation of publishers, Mr 
Danford ; you are Diogenes and Lycurgus both 
rolled into one, and methinks you need no one to 
assist you in fixing our destinies." 

" I only give gentle hints concerning your 
future relations towards each other, Lord 
Mowbray ; publishers will step in later, to inform 
you as to your intrinsic value." Danford bowed to 
Lord Mowbray and, turning to Lionel, said, 
" Where do you intend going this evening, my 
lord ? " 

" After a light collation I am taking Hornsby 
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The Storm of London 

to the Empire to see Holophernes ; it was one of 
the great attractions before the storm." 

" Yes, and likely to be the last of that kind ; but 
I shall leave your lordship to judge for yourself." 

" Ta-ta, Danford shall see you to-morrow 
early about the Dining-Halls scheme." 



125 



CHAPTER IX 

NETTIE COLLINS, Gwendolen's social guide, de- 
clared she had nothing more to teach her pupil 
now she had made such progress in the art of 
observation, recognised her lover, and just lately 
known her father again. This last event had 
been curious. One day, Gwen was walking 
through the rooms of the National Gallery, 
enjoying the beauty of art that had been hidden 
from her for so many years ; as she stood in front 
of Pinturicchio's "Story of Griselda," wondering 
at the past generations who not only allowed, but 
insisted on women turning themselves into beasts 
of burden, she noticed a middle-aged man of com- 
manding stature, close to her, gazing at the same 
picture. She looked up and her eyes met his ; 
her present surroundings vanished, and she lived 
in an evoked dream, which brought back past 
scenes and long-buried joys. As she stared at 
him, she little by little reconstructed the scenes of 
her childhood, and as in a trance her lovely lips 
faintly murmured the word " Father." 
126 



The Storm of London 

" What a magician is love," thought Gwendolen, 
when she retired that night to her bedroon, after 
long hours of conversation with her father. What 
could Nettie teach her now ? Still she kept the 
sprightly little guide by her, to help her in working 
out the problems of social reforms. The two re- 
formers put their clever heads together, and 
assisted by Eva Carey Gwendolen's bosom 
friend they organised several guilds for the 
purpose of bringing together the East - End 
factory girls and the West-End fair damsels. They 
came to the conclusion that the West-Enders had 
been often enough in the dark continent of Step- 
ney, Hackney, and Bow, to amuse, sing or recite, 
read and teach the poor isolated classes, who, after 
all, knew no more of their instructors and enter- 
tainers than if they had come down from the 
planet Mars. The three friends thought this time 
they would have the East-End on a visit to the 
West-End, and on their own ground would make 
them acquainted with that world which they had 
only read about in penny shockers. Since the 
disappearance of clothes, misery had lost a good 
deal of its sting, and envy and rancour were things 
of the past civilisation. Hitherto the craving for 
money had robbed our world of the one virtue 
which opens every heart to sympathy: Pity. 
How could a factory girl, who struggled on five 
shillings a week, ever imagine that the owner of a 
127 



The Storm of London 

West-End mansion needed sympathy? Money 
was the great soother, and in the eyes of those 
who did not eat enough, it granted one the 
privileges of eating more than your fill, of lying in 
bed when having a headache, of taking a holiday 
when run down in health ; it even went so far, in 
their ignorant minds, as to pad the aching throbs 
of a broken heart. The East-Ender knew no 
limit to what money could do, because he had 
none himself and was convinced that to possess in 
abundance the things which he sorely lacked must 
doubtless be the cause of all happiness. He was 
so grossly one-sided and ignorant that he was 
inclined to believe that even the laws of nature 
could be altered by the power of riches ; but how- 
ever foolish he may have been, he was not alone 
in judging in this dogmatic manner. The West- 
Ender was equally uninformed as to what lay 
beneath the sordid rags of the classes of which he 
knew nothing ; he endowed the poorer classes with 
a callousness of feeling which at first sight seemed 
in keeping with their reeky clothes and shabby 
environments, and denied them any particle of 
that romance which he believed could only be the 
privilege of the well-dressed. And thus the two 
antipodes of London lived in a baneful ignorance 
of one another. But now that the vanishing of 
toggery had laid bare the two hearts of our social 
world, Gwen was determined to put the picture of 
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The Storm of London 

humanity in proper perspective, and to soften the 
crudity of light and darkness that had been 
so offensive to both parties. Over and over 
again Gwen gathered her friends and her 
friends' friends in the various parks of London. 
They played and laughed under the trees, they 
listened to Nettie's amusing recitals of her 
adventurous life, which were varied for she 
made her dtbut at Hackney's Music Hall, 
and ended her career at the Alhambra ! She 
greatly diverted her audience, for her ideas of the 
world at large were always flavoured with a grain 
of good-humoured satire and gentle humour. 
She was fresh and impulsive, human and per- 
ceptive, and possessed the invaluable gift of 
developing in the East-Ender girls the precious 
sense of humour and discrimination which lightens 
every burden, and seems to filter through opaque 
dulness like a ray of sunlight. 

How much more pleasant were those pastoral 
entertainments than the old-fashioned At Home, 
or even than the attractive garden parties! 
Tournaments were organised to promote the 
love of beauty, and to develop the imaginative 
power that lies more or less dormant in every- 
one, but more particularly so amongst the 
London poorer classes. The first one was a 
floral tournament. Every girl of the East-End 
i 129 



The Storm of London 

and the West-End was to appear in the prettiest, 
and most original floral accoutrement ; they were 
granted full permission to use their imagina- 
tion to conceive wonderful designs and com- 
bination of colours ; Gwen hoped in this way to 
instil in the Anglo-Saxon race an aesthetic 
knowledge of decoration which was sorely lacking. 
Another time she aimed at a more ambitious 
entertainment, and started a series of historical 
tournaments. A group of girls were selected 
amongst the West and East-End maidens, and to 
each of them an historical character was given to 
impersonate. Historians were invited to lecture 
on historical subjects so as to acquaint the girls 
with the character they wished to personify. 
This new mode of inoculating the taste for 
history was as instructive as it was dramatic; 
besides, it developed memory, for there was no 
doubt that the East-Ender's ignorance, as related 
to past and present history, was not more appall- 
ing than that of the Mayfair belle. Nettie 
decided that the first three tournaments ought to 
be consecrated to personages of our own times, 
or at least the Victorian age ; for uncultured 
minds could not be supposed to interest them- 
selves in historical characters so far removed 
from the present period as Charles II., Henry 
VIII., or Alfred. It was gradually that the 
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The Storm of London 

dramatic study of history was to take them 
backwards, instead of making them leap into a 
far-distant abyss, expecting the bewildered brain 
to grope its way back to our throbbing present. 

Lionel frequently came to surprise Gwendolen 
in Kensington Gardens, where she rehearsed with 
the girls. He came in through the gates facing 
the Memorial Monument. By the way, the statue 
had been, with due respect, removed to a private 
niche in the In Memoriam Museum of discarded 
monuments, where only members of the Royal 
Family were admitted to see it, on applying first 
to the Lord Chamberlain. Already the younger 
members of the family showed a distinct repul- 
sion to seeing their ancestor robed in such 
abnormal garments, and one of the royal infants 
had been seized with a fit in the arms of his nurse 
at the sight of it. 

Lionel, one lovely day in June, walked down the 
Long Avenue of Kensington Palace Gardens; at a 
distance he could perceive the groups of lissome 
nymphs surrounding Gwen, some scattered under 
the trees, others lying on the grass ; and his 
Greek appreciation of art made him hail this 
pastoral scene as a great success. Those who 
had visited the Wallace Collection would no 
doubt compare the picture to a Boucher ; but 
Lionel, who had more discrimination, thought it 



The Storm of London 

put him in mind of a Corot. Perhaps he was 
right. 

" Here you are, Lionel," and Gwen walked up 
to him as he came near. "We are having 
a final rehearsal of our passion tournament. I 
have already told you of it. Bella will represent 
Love; Violet has chosen Anger; Flora begs to 
be Dignity, and so on. They are quite excited 
about it, the more so as no reading up can help 
them in this; they will have to work out their 
own ideas about the passions they wish to 
personify. You see, Lionel, we have had enough 
of external excitement, we must now look inwardly 
for all our pleasures. It is a step higher than 
historical impersonation, though we intend to 
make the two studies work together. Nettie, I 
shall leave you in charge of them, for you are 
sure to give them useful hints about their parts 
and to develop a little more subtlety into their 
monodrama. Come, Lion, my Lion, let us stroll 
under the trees ; I have so much to say to you." 
And she looked into his eyes, and caressingly 
held his hand close to her cheek, as they walked 
away. His heart was full, and he thought deeply 
and analysed minutely his emotions, trying to 
define the newly-acquired standard of morals 
that was slowly transforming their old rotten 
Society into a rational sociality. One feature of 
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The Storm of London 

the old world had certainly disappeared since 
the storm lascivious curiosity. How could 
morbid erotism find any place in our reformed 
republic ? Eve-like nakedness robbed a woman 
of all impure suggestiveness. It was the half-clad, 
half-disrobed, that had made man run amok in 
the race for brutal enjoyment ; for the goods 
laid out in the shop windows are not by far 
so alluring as what peeps behind the counter. 

" Gwen, how lovely you are ! Your face is a 
crystal reflecting every beautiful emotion in your 
heart. Even Raphael would have despaired of 
fixing your expression." 

"You will make me vain, Lionel. There are 
many things that I cannot yet grasp, although we 
have so many hours on hand since the loss of our 
furbelows. You do not realise what difference 
it makes in a woman's life. But I shall be 
happy when my small mission has succeeded and 
when I have imparted to women the love of 
study." 

" A man's days were pretty much employed in 
the same senseless pursuits. Some feel it 
intensely Lord Mowbray, for instance, who does 
not know what to do with his costly jewels, now 
he cannot stick them all over his Oriental costumes 
and appear as a twentieth-century Aroun-al- 
Raschid." 

i33 



The Storm of London 

"Ah! he will develop with the rest, and easily 
find out the unmarketable value of his luxury ; or 
if he does not evolve, he will be swept away by 
the great wave of reform which waits for no man. 
But I am more concerned about Ronald Sinclair ; 
of course, you guess the reason." 

" Does Eva still care for him ? " 

" Eva is not a girl likely to change. She loved 
him formerly for his wit, his irony, and I am 
sorry to say, for his disdainful manner towards 
her. But her love has now acquired a new 
stimulus pity, which she feels for all his 
deficiencies. She may in time bring him round to 
see life from a wider and more humane point of 
view, but for the present he laughs at our meetings, 
and vows the mixing of classes cannot succeed. 
He pretends that nothing but the pursuits of 
fastidious aestheticism can save this state of ours 
from vulgarity. Somehow, I feel that he is not 
right, though I cannot tell in what his teaching is 
lacking." 

"We shall do a great deal for them when we 
are married," softly said Lionel. 

" Ah ! my dearest Lion, this is one of the serious 
questions that has troubled me. Nettie cannot, 
or will not help me in this matter ; she says I 
have to find that out alone, and that later on she 
will work out the details for me. The first 



The Storm of London 

stumbling-block is the wedding. What kind 
of a wedding could it be ? " 

" Well, I suppose the church, the ceremony, and 
all the rest that precedes and follows such 
functions. It is not that I care for the whole 
show, dearest ; I personally think it a terrible 
ordeal to have to exhibit oneself on such an 
occasion." 

" Think of it, Lionel ; it means walking to the 
altar just as we are no wedding dress, no 
bridesmaids ; the congregation likewise, and the 
priest no better attired than the verger or bride- 
groom. Where would be the show ? Where the 
customary apotheosis of smartness ? Even the 
thunderous organ striking up Mendelssohn's 
march would be an inadequate accompaniment to 
a procession of Adamites." 

" To tell you the truth, Gwen, I had never 
thought of it. The important thing was our love ; 
the ceremony appeared to me as a thing not 
worth giving a thought ; but now, it does seem to 
me an utter impossibility to go through such an 
incongruous function ; and for the first time I see 
how indecent public functions are. There have 
been no weddings since the storm, now I think 
of it." 

"No; Nettie told me that Society had put off 
all the forthcoming weddings until this freak of 

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The Storm of London 

nature had passed how silly of Society ! 7 do 
not wish to wait, for the very good reason that I 
believe this state of affairs will continue." 

" And I hope it may last for ever, for I owe to 
it your love, Gwen. Let us dispense with the 
public function." 

" Then no wedding ? " 

" No, at least, no bridesmaids, no wedding cake, 
no invitations above all." 

" No." Gwen absently gazed in front of her, 
murmuring softly, " My uncle, the Bishop of 
Warren, would officiate at our small chapel at 
Harewood, and father would give me away. It 
would be very strange. No stole, no Bishop's 
sleeves, none of the canonical vestments that 
form part of the religious rites. All this had 
not struck me, so engrossed was I with our 
own appearance ; but when once you knock 
down part of the ceremony, the other must 
inevitably disappear in the downfall ; and in 
the total destruction of outward signs, it seems as 
if the principle of religion had also received a 
fatal blow." 

" Then no wedding march, no benediction ? " 

" No, Lionel. Do not the triumphant chords 

vibrate more sonorously in our two exultant hearts, 

than in any organ ? " and she lifted her beautiful 

eyes high above the tops of the trees. Lionel 

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The Storm of London 

bent his head, and touched her softly-luxuriant 
hair with his lips. 

Nettie, who at a distance caught sight of his 
movement, could not help smiling and thinking 
that the British race was becoming less self- 
conscious. 

" Gwen," murmured her lover, " listen to the two 
linnets on that branch. Have they invited their 
friends and relations to come and witness their 
betrothal ? Happiness is timorous, and shuns the 
world. Those who truly love, fly from the crowd, 
to murmur their loving vows uninterrupted by 
comments and gossip." 

" My Lion, you have put into words what my 
heart has felt for days. Surely marriage is an 
action which only concerns those who are in- 
terested. Besides, the social laws of morality 
which governed our old world cannot any longer 
apply to our own. Let us return to Nettie ; she 
is sure to furnish us with useful suggestions for 
carrying out our plan." They turned back, and 
very soon were met by Nettie and Eva ; the 
former, with her sprightly physiognomy, brought 
their wandering minds back to practical life and 
to bare facts. 

" Have you discovered some new laws of life 
since you left us ? " 

Gwen proceeded to relate to her friends what 
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The Storm of London 

they had arrived at concerning weddings in 
general ; and she asked Nettie to find some means 
of realising their project. 

" I should suggest a drive in your chariot to 
some isolated spot in the country. Stay in some 
labourer's cottage, and on the day which would 
have been the one appointed by you in our past 
Society for the wedding, I should advise you to 
spend it in the fields and to have a mutual con- 
fession ; what I would call a complete reckoning 
of your two inner lives; for that ought really 
to be the true meaning of marriage, which 
was so rarely understood in our past 
Society." 

"This sounds very like Ibsen, dear Nettie," 
remarked Eva. 

"But what do you suggest after that? "asked 
Gwen. 

" Stay away as long as you can ; then return to 
your occupations here, for you know we cannot 
spare you for a very long time ; there are so many 
things we want to launch before the season is over. 
Of course, no announcement of your marriage is 
required, you will tell your friends when you come 
back, and as to the rest of the world, it is im- 
material whether they know it or not." 

" It certainly seems simple enough, and in that 
way we escape all foolish questions." 
138 



The Storm of London 

" My dear Lord Somerville, I think that you will 
find that no one will take the slightest notice of 
your escapade. In London, what is past is seldom 
interesting," added the little buffoon, who had for 
some time put this axiom to the test when she 
was on the Music Halls. 

" I believe you are right," answered Lionel, " and 
the saddest tragedy of last week has no chance 
against the daily scandals." 

"Society lives greatly on its own imagination " 
the sententious humourist was taking a flight into 
speculative land. " Society is the biggest romancer 
you ever came across ; it hates truth and bona-fide 
dramas ; despises the scandals that have not been 
spun at their own fireside; and follows to the 
letter the well-known maxim, that truth makes 
the worst fiction." 

" Do you not think, Nettie, now marriage has 
become a grave reality, that the least said about it 
at large, the better ? " 

" By all means ; and the less seen of it the 
better still. Do not forget that this evening we 
go to the Circus to witness the first representation 
given by the Society of new stagers. You have 
no idea, my lord, what a bevy of young actors 
are coming to the fore to outshine the old 
ones." 

" We were in sore need of real dramatic artists, 
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The Storm of London 

owing to the utter inability of impersonating- 
characters without wardrobe paraphernalia. Per- 
haps we shall be able in time to form a school of 
dramatic psychologists. But here comes Danford ;. 
he will tell us what is going on." 



140 



CHAPTER X 

<( WE were talking about the new study of 
dramatic art, Danford. I hear your Society is 
making great progress." 

" Progress, my lord ! It has already reached a 
very high standard of efficiency. We shall, in a 
few days, give a representation of King John, 
which, I believe, will interest you. The Regalia 
of Sovereignty will of course be absent ; but how 
much more significant of true majesty will the 
personage be, when, by his gestures and facial 
expression, he will embody that ephemeral power 
divine right." 

" And what are the conclusions you arrive at," 
eagerly inquired the Earl, "on the subject of 
monarchical government ? " 

" My lord, this is another of those problems you 
have to solve for yourself." 

"We have already solved one this morning." 
Lionel took Gwen's hand and lifted it gently to 
his lips. 

141 



The Storm of London 

" Very glad to hear it, my dear Lord Somerville ; 
you will save us a deal of trouble by being so 
quick at guessing life's riddles. Time is precious, 
and already a few weeks have gone by since the 
storm ; if you do not solve the social problem as 
soon as ever you can, I am afraid it will go badly 
for all of us. We are only your stage managers 
on these large boards ; I am sorry to say, though, 
that the social actors do not always seem to know 
their parts; they come in when not wanted and 
leave the stage when most needed. Of course it is 
our business to look after your entrances and 
exits ; but the inner meaning of your characterisa- 
tions remains with you to decipher." 

" I think, Danford, you have already, with your 
short cuts of humour and satire, led me through 
a dark labyrinth compared to which Dante's 
Inferno was but child's play. You have often 
been my faithful Virgil, and drawn my attention 
to the tragedy of our past world of artificiality." 

" Indeed, my lord, tragedy of the most painful 
kind ; for Society drew out each day a new code 
of morals to suit a fresh want, and a catechism 
was issued to befit a gospel of histology. It was 
not actually read out in church, like the 
Athanasian Creed, but it was religiously obeyed 
in and out of God's house." 

" What would Society have said had a woman 
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The Storm of London 

been to the Army and Navy Stores at 10 a.m. 
in the same cttcollett gown which she wore 
at last night's ball?" This was Gwen, who 
mischievously looked at Lionel. 

" My dear Gwen, think for one minute of the 
soldier enwrapping himself in the judge's gown ; 
the apronless and capless housemaid appear- 
ing in the hall with a tiara on her head (even 
were it paid out of her earnings) ; or the butler 
pompously opening the door in a Field-Marshal's 
uniform ? " 

" Bedlam or Portland Bay would have been 
their next abode," replied Danford; "you are 
evoking in your mind's eye a social upheaval, 
and in one instant hurling to the ground a whole 
structure which took centuries to erect. The 
dignity of magistracy, the punctilio of military 
honour, the ancestral breeding of nobility, would 
all be hopelessly annihilated were you to 
transpose from one body on to another the 
outward signs of each. Not only had Dame 
Fashion preached a new gospel, but new passions 
were thereof discovered to make Society's 
blood rush more violently, and different forms 
of sorrows henceforth filled the hearts of 
women." 

" Oh ! how true you are, Mr Danford," suddenly 
broke in Nettie ; " how often have I seen women 

143 



The Storm of London 

of fashion sad unto death at the contemplation of 
their wardrobes." 

" And the pity of it all was that women truly 
writhed under the sting of these petty grievances," 
added Eva. 

" You are slowly finding out for yourself, Miss 
Carey," remarked Danford, " that an eleventh 
commandment had been written out by Society : 
' Thou shall not be shabby.'" 

" What a host of innocent women have been 
sent to perdition in trying to obey this law to 
the letter," retorted Lionel. 

" Ah ! Fashion, what crimes were committed 
in thy name ! " comically added Nettie. 

"There is no doubt also," said Lionel, "that 
the demoralisation of our past Society was 
greatly caused by that misinterpreted activity 
which in a great sense led to artificiality and 
deception. No proper time was allowed for 
development ; we had clothed art, clothed 
charity, clothed education ; and in every branch 
of industry and artistic pursuit the fruit had to 
be picked ere it was ripe. The weighty question 
of pauperism was settled over the tea-cups when 
a bazaar organised by fashionable women had 
realised fifty pounds ; the last word of realistic 
art had been said when a well-known sculptor 
had put the final touch to his statue of a ballet 
144 



The Storm of London 

dancer, by sticking on the skirt a flounce of real 
gold lace. As to education, it was to be imbibed, as 
air is pumped into a rubber tyre, strongly and 
promptly, so as to lose no time, for the next race 
was at hand and we had to start, even if we 
punctured on the road." 

"No one knows this better than I do," said 
Gwen. " We were never taught the true value of 
anything or of anyone ; we believed to have 
fathomed all things when we had seen the small 
sides of them, and human beings were only what 
they appeared to us relatively. I must say that 
the most difficult people to deal with at present 
are some of the mothers in Society. It is not 
that they mind, materially, this state of nature ; 
I suppose they are making up their minds to it, 
and Lady Pendelton still repeats that a lady can 
always behave like one wherever she is placed 
and whatever happens." 

"Yes," added Eva, "but my mother is con- 
vinced that it is the diffusion of classes that will 
bring our world to a tragic end." 

Eva suddenly stopped talking, and blushes 
covered her soft white cheek. She turned to 
Gwen. 

" Darling, is that Ronald Sinclair standing near 
the Rotunda?" 

"Yes, dearie, it is he; and George Murray is 
K 145 



The Storm of London 

coming up to him with Lelia Dale. They have 
seen us." 

Sinclair, accompanied by his two friends, 
walked towards our group and was the first to 
speak. 

" Have you heard, Lionel, that the manager of 
the Olympus is forced to close the doors of his 
theatre ? " 

" I expected that would soon happen," mur- 
mured Danford. 

" It was inevitable," answered Lionel ; " when 
music of that kind lies shivering without its usual 
toggeries, it must perish ; for when crotchets and 
semi-quavers do not any longer help to pin a 
scarf or lift up suggestively the corner of 
a laced petticoat, comic opera has lost its 
meaning." 

" My dear Lord Somerville, you do not seem to 
grasp the real state of things. The Atrium will 
follow suit, and before you are a week older the 
great priest of upholsterers will have to retire," 
vexatiously retorted Sinclair. 

"Yes, and very probably he will be joined in 
exile by Turn Bull, who has no further need to 
study Abyssinian bassi-relievi. As you see, I quite 
grasp our present state of affairs," smilingly 
answered Lionel. 

" I think I agree with you, Lord Somerville," 
146 



The Storm of London 

languidly remarked Lelia Dale, who had for years 
been the jewel of dramatic art. " Turn Bull had 
developed to the highest degree the psychology of 
clothes." 

" I should call it the physiology of pallia- 
ments," interrupted Murray, the apostle of subtle 
environment. 

" Yes, George," resumed the flower of the pro- 
fession, "he has often made me blush with the 
pruriency with which he endowed his vestments ; 
and my maidenly modesty was less offended by a 
kiss from his lips than by the erotic influence 
of his draperies in certain parts of his 
repertoire" 

" Do not forget, though," suddenly broke in 
Sinclair, "that we had arrived at the highest 
manifestation of local colour ; and that the true- 
to-life surroundings with which we framed our 
plays had reached the desideratum of the 
most fastidious art critic. Surely plays repre- 
sented at the Theatre Fran^ais nowadays, or as 
they used to be at our Atrium and Arcadia, were 
truer to life than when Phedre wore a Louis XIV. 
Court dress, or Othello a frill ? " 

" I do not agree with you, Ronald," replied 

Lionel, " and I maintain that the evolution of an 

unsuspicious Othello into a mad bull of jealousy 

works itself out regardless of frippery. When 

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The Storm of London 

psychology was the only object of the playwright, 
and the everlasting study of the actor, dramatic 
art was at its highest water- mark ; but when adapt- 
able environment and the accuracy of costume were 
made the aim of arduous researches, art fell from 
its Olympian cloud down to the back-room of an 
old curiosity shop. Archaeology had dethroned 
psychology ; even physiology was reduced to a 
dissecting-room. Do you believe that the green- 
eyed passion of an Othello, or the morbid 
hysteria of a King Lear, would be more en- 
forced by the one wearing the true Venetian 
uniform, and the other appearing in the 
barbarian clothing of an early Briton ? We must 
first of all find out whether the passions of the 
one and the delirium of the other are eternally 
true to human nature. If they are, what need 
have you to cut a particular garment for them ? 
Any will do ; none will be quite sufficient. You 
need not clothe CEdipus to understand his evolu- 
tion ; the tragedy he embodies will forever be 
human, and as long as there exists a suffering 
humanity, there will be an inadequate struggle 
between the inner will-power and what is errone- 
ously called Destiny." 

They had come to the Rotunda, and Lionel, 
with a gracious wave of his hand, led his friends 
into the hall, in which marble tables were placed 
148 



The Storm of London 

near a circular carved stone bench for visitors to 
recline. 

"I. am sure you will all take some iced 
champagne or Vouvray out of these tempting 
amphoras," said he. They all reclined, and the 
cooling atmosphere fanned them agreeably. 

" Is that Montague Vane I see at a distance, 
tripping daintily over the railings ? " 

Danford went to the door. "Yes, and he is 
followed by half-a-dozen of his adherents." 

" Ah ! he is continually inviting me to join his 
Peripatetic Society; but I have no wish to do 
so," and Lionel looked tenderly at Gwen, as he 
poured out a glass of champagne and offered it to 
her. " I cannot see at what they arrive in their 
wanderings through the thoroughfares of life." 

" Nor I, my lord," broke in Danford, who left the 
door and came back towards the group. " Jack 
Daw Mr Vane's social guide told me lately that 
he and his pupil did not always pull together. 
The Society dilettante is trying to stem the great 
wave of reform, and, like a child, brings his small 
toys to impede the violence of the tide; which 
makes Jack laugh uncontrollably. The latter does 
his best to give his pupil smart hints; but Mr 
Vane takes them badly, and when Jack thrusts his 
light on the great sights of nature, the little ex- 
smart man puts his tiny white hands over his eyes, 
149 



The Storm of London 

and sighing heavily tells him : * My dear Jack, 
you are all in the wrong. Nature has long been 
exploded. She lost herself for a considerable time 
under the trees of Paradise, then she was suddenly 
conquered by a greater master than herself Art, 
and ever since has never lifted her head again. 1 He 
answers art, to every longing, to every passion ; 
it is his panacea against all anguish, the goal to 
every ambition." 

" By-the-bye, Dick," interrupted Lionel, " I was 
at the meeting this morning with my architect." 

" To be sure, the meeting of the United Drapers 
of London," remarked Sinclair; "it must have 
been a diverting assembly! Lord Petersham 
telephoned to ask me if I could attend ha ! ha ! 
ha ! to see Watson and Company en masse would 
be too much for me. One at a time of these 
prosperous shopkeepers and that in the open 
air is all I can stand ! " 

" I wish that you had turned up, Ronald," 
mischievously said Lionel. " You would have lost 
that preconceived idea of yours that a profession 
must imprint an indelible sign on a man's 
physique pure delusion, my good man ! Well, I 
obtained my points with the Board of Drapers : 
first, I attacked Watson, who I was afraid would 
be recalcitrant ; but I was astonished to find him 
most willing to carry out our scheme." 
150 



The Storm of London 

" I believe you will discover hidden treasures 
of philanthropy in the hearts of all those who 
formerly rebelled at the mere name of chanty," 
satirically remarked Danford. 

" You are always a prophet, my faithful guide ; 
for Whiteley, Swan & Edgar, Marshall & Snel- 
grove in fact, all the big shops of past elegance 
are offering to open their doors in a week, 
and to transform their rooms into commodious 
dining-halls for the masses ; and last, though not 
least of all, the Army and Navy Stores have 
actually condescended to turn all their devastated 
rooms into Symposia. Yes, that is the name, for 
they wish to have a different appellation to other 
shops ; of course we could not insult such a select 
board of shareholders by insisting on their using 
the same word as other tradespeople ; so Symposia 
it will be ; although by any other name the food 
would be as delectable." And Lionel turned to 
Gwen, " I look to you as a partner to help me in 
this enterprise." 

" Thank you, Lionel, for the suggestion. I shall 
confer with Nettie on the details ; but I think I 
see the thing rightly: a sort of visiting association, 
each day, one hour or two will be employed in the 
serving of meals in the halls; some will help 
at luncheon, others at tea, and another group at 
supper. I should suggest that the men undertook 



The Storm of London 

the potation department, and that a committee of 
helpers should be organised in every district of the 
Metropolis." Gwen turned to Eva, sitting close to 
her, "And you, dear, will be my faithful colleague ?" 

Eva pressed her friend's hand, but spoke 
no word, as Sinclair reclining near her sneer- 
ingly remarked, "I cannot see you portioning 
out plates of boiled beef and apple pudding to a 
crowd of unclean mendicants." 

"Are you sure they will be unclean? And 
if by mendicants you mean those having no 
clothes nor any money, they will be no worse 
than we are ; for we have no cheque-book, nor any 
pockets to put our money in," softly whispered 
Eva, whose heart was beating violently at the 
reproof of the man she loved but whom she pitied 
for his sad limitations. 

" My dear man," joined in Lionel, " this idea of 
the dining-halls is but the preface to a greater 
reform ! It will for the moment meet the need 
of all the working classes whom the storm has 
put on the streets; but in the near future it 
will be our new mode of partaking of our 
meals in public." Lionel smiled as he noticed 
the effect his strange words had on Murray and 
Sinclair. 

" Will you allow a few of your privileged 
friends to have their meals privately in their own 
152 



The Storm of London 

homes?" slowly uttered Sinclair, who looked as 
if the greatest danger was at hand. 

" By all means, my dear fellow. We force no 
one; coercion is not the password of our future 
Society, but personal initiative; and after a 
little time has gone by, you will be the first to 
join these Symposia. It will only be another 
form of club life without which you could not 
have imagined your London ; with this difference 
that your field of sympathy will be enlarged in 
our new form of assemblies, and instead of meet- 
ing daily a limited number of members, about 
whom you knew all that was to be known, you 
will join a body of men and women about whom 
you have hitherto known nothing. I grant you 
that many of them would not have been admitted 
in the bosom of your literary and artistic 
clubs, nor would they have been allowed to 
associate with the members of smart clubs; but 
now it will not much avail any man that 
he was a member of the Vagabond, or of 
Boodles!" 

" Anyhow, I think we prefer meeting no one 
to associating with a mass of illiterate and ill- 
bred folks," said Murray. 

" You will not always say so, George," replied 
Lionel. " The disappearance of cheque-books 
and of pockets has done more towards the fusion 



The Storm of London 

of classes than you believe; and it is mere 
common-sense that is prompting Society to take 
a rational view of the whole thing. Parliament 
is dissolved since yesterday, as you know ; there 
was nothing else to be done, I suppose. The 
hour of self-government has struck when we 
least expected it, and it must find us mature for 
the work to be done." Then turning to Gwen, 
" Do you think that your girl friends will help in 
this new scheme of dining-halls ? I feared they 
would toss their dainty heads and pout their rosy 
lips at the suggestion." 

" My dear Lionel, what they objected to was 
not so much the hunger that wasted away half 
the world, for they could not see its ravages and 
had not any personal experience to bear on the 
subject; but they were shocked at the grimy 
shabbiness of the destitutes, for that they could 
notice, and their individual knowledge of luxury 
intensified their hatred of poverty." 

" You are a true observer, Miss Towerbridge, 
and a humorist which spoils nothing," remarked 
Danford. Gwen blushed vividly at the little 
man's praise ; she was proud at having won the 
appreciation of such a master in psychology. 

" I shall expect you all to turn away in disgust 
from your uncouth companions," and Sinclair 
rose. " I am going to join Vane ; for the present 



The Storm of London 

his views suit my state of mind, and we shall 
see who will win in the long run you, with 
your rude Dame Nature ; or we, with our dis- 
criminating power of aesthetics. Good-bye, poor 
Miss Carey" and he bent towards her "you 
are not cut out for a distributing kitchen 
employer; and nature is a hideous transgressor 
whom you ought to kick out of your doors. 
What will Lady Carey say to all this ? " and the 
fastidious critic was off, followed by Murray. 

The group broke up ; Lionel putting his hand 
on Danford's shoulder walked out of the Rotunda, 
leaving Gwen and Eva conversing in one part of 
the cool hall, while Lelia Dale and Nettie re- 
clined in another part. Lelia Dale leaned her 
head on her hand. She did not know whom to 
serve. She had always been partial to Sinclair, 
whose criticisms on her talent were most flatter- 
ing, and the eclecticism of Vane was an element 
which she appreciated highly ; but, on the other 
hand, nature had its attractions, also Lord 
Somerville was a great power in the social 
organism, and the love of notoriety was so 
ingrafted in her professional soul that she was 
unwilling to see the rising of a Society of new 
stagers out of which she would be excluded. She 
meditated whether it would not be wise to put on 
one side her pride, and to beg humbly of Eleanora 
155 



The Storm of London 

Duse to initiate her in the secrets of physiognomy ; 
for, upon the whole, Lelia was artistic enough to 
know in her inner heart that she was deficient in 
facial expression, and totally ignorant of the 
laws of motion. 



156 



CHAPTER XI 

LIONEL often sat in his library pondering over 
all kinds of abstruse questions. He did not know 
his old London again, and smiled at the revolution 
in social life. Nowadays, one house was as good 
as another. Mrs So-and-So's luncheon parties, 
Lady X.'s dinners and bridge reunions were no 
longer sought for, since frocks and frills had 
vanished and packs of cards crumbled to dust. 
Dancing also was impossible under the present 
regime, for the laisser-aller of a ball-room 
seemed intolerable in the new Paradise regained. 
In fact, no respectable mother would consent to 
take her daughter to any of these brawls. Lionel 
recalled the first and the last ball of this 
season. It was at Lady Wimberley's. When 
the ball opened, the hurry and scurry of London 
apes was such, that he had turned to his faithful 
guide and told him, 

" Nothing on earth would induce me to dance 
this evening or ever. Not even with Gwen." 

"Especially not with Miss Towerbridge," had 
replied the funny little buffoon. " Happiness has 
157 



The Storm of London 

no need to bump, elbow or kick, to manifest its 
gladness." They had both left the house, and 
given the hint to London Society. 

And thus the fashion for balls, late dinners, 
evening receptions died out, as smart women lost 
the taste for such vulgar dissipations. Lionel 
laughed outright at Lady Carey's remark that 
the end of the world was nigh, for Society was 
perishing from dulness. Still, all the fussiness of 
the little woman could not alter the bare fact that 
it was quite unnecessary to turn night into day, 
since the days were quite long enough to contain 
the occupations of the present Society. Com- 
plexion and figure greatly benefited from this 
normal mode of life ; and the absence of corset 
and waistcoat urged the English man and woman 
to watch over their diet, if they did not intend 
to turn their bodies into living advertisements of 
their passions and depravities. 

Had anyone told Lionel a year ago what 
London would be like at the present moment, he 
would no doubt have burst into Homeric laughter ; 
but now that the thing was done, it all seemed so 
simple and so rational, that he hardly realised 
it. It amused him very much to see daily, at 
the Pall Mall Committee of Public Kitchens, 
Lord Petersham conversing with a well-known 
butcher of Belgravia. But Petersham, whatever 
158 



The Storm of London 

he may have thought, dissembled artfully, and 
argued with himself that they were both, he and 
the butcher, sitting on the Board to judge of the 
quality of the meat and who would be more 
likely to judge impartially of the catering than a 
butcher, especially when he consumed the victuals 
each day. 

He recalled how hard it had been to persuade 
Sinclair the fastidious, to breakfast with him 
at the dining-hall of the ex-Swan & Edgar. 
Although the critic partook of the delicious meal, 
he would not be won over to the cause ; but he 
admitted that the butter and the eggs were extra 
fresh ; that the meat was irreproachable, the fish 
first-rate ; he even went so far as to recognise that 
all things were transacted on a bona-fide method. 
But when Lionel told him that the whole secret 
lay in the fact that the interest of all was the 
interest of each, then Sinclair laughed and 
said " tommy rot." There was nothing more 
to say to a man who pooh-poohed the greatest 
and noblest of reforms. 

" But why on earth, if your are so anxious to 
reform the depravity of our Society, why have 
you begun by administering to their appetites? 
It seems to me that you might have found some 
nobler mission for the regeneration of Britishers." 

" My dear fellow," had calmly replied Lionel, 



The Storm of London 

"to stem a chaotic revolution, after the total 
collapse of all manufacturers, we had first of all 
to think of feeding our hungry populations. Before 
you lift up the soul of man, you must feed his 
body. But at the same time that we are satisfying 
the physical need of men and women, we are 
unconsciously weaving into a close tissue the 
contradictory codes of morals of buyers and 
sellers. Every producer is a member of our 
dining-halls, and benefits directly by the 
genuineness of the goods he delivers to the 
Committee. Is it not a colossal triumph ? " 

Danford, who was close by when Lionel had 
spoken to Sinclair, had added, 

"These are the bloodless victories that will 
enrich our civilisations with greater happiness 
than ever the conquests of Caesar, Napoleon and 
Wellington endowed their epochs with glory." 

" First of all, we aim at feeding all classes, on 
the principle that there should not be one food 
for the rich and another for the poor; but our 
ultimate plan is to give self-government to every 
branch of business, so as to ensure honest dealing, 
prompt measures, and efficiency." 

" Yes, my lord," sententiously remarked Dan, 

" you have to bring strong proofs to bear on the 

apathetic minds of Britishers. You must show 

them endless examples of your reformatory work 

1 60 



The Storm of London 

before they will follow you one step. John Bull 
has not a speculative brain, and will not listen to 
any of your dreams; but, on the other hand, there 
is no limit to what he can do when once he is 
convinced of your power of common-sense." And 
Lionel had made up his mind to take his country- 
men as they were. He had consulted his club 
friends about transforming clubs into places of 
general meetings, where anyone, from a Peer of the 
realm down to a coal-heaver, would each week 
meet to suggest any new plans or denounce any 
abuse. Our reformer made them see that in the 
present condition of Society, clubs had lost the 
principal charm of their organisation exclusive- 
ness. In fact, their raison d'etre had disappeared. 
The collapse of centralised government, the 
vanishing of daily newspapers had deprived these 
smart haunts of all political and social interest ; 
and the members saw no objection to lending 
their rooms for the use of public meetings. On 
the contrary, they rather enjoyed the change, for 
they longed for agitation, and thought that 
any kind of life was preferable than social 
decomposition. 

At the first meeting, the telephone question was 

on the tapis ', at the second meeting the whole 

thing was settled, and a service of telephones was 

organised in every house. What were dailies, 

L 161 



The Storm of London 

posters, letters, telegrams compared to the very 
voice which you knew, and which told you the 
very latest news ? 

"Ah! my lord," had again exclaimed Dan, 
" distance will some day have no signification 
whatever, between Continents, when telephone 
brings the Yankee twang close to the Cockney 
burr." Lionel and Dan had looked at each other, 
and for one instant a mist had dimmed the 
brilliancy of their eyesight. These two had the 
public's welfare truly at heart. 

" One thing is certain, Dan, that our dream will 
be realised sooner than we believe. Man will be 
able to see his fellow-creature, hear his voice who 
knows ? perhaps he will touch his hand from one 
hemisphere to another; but never will man be 
able to demonstrate scientifically or ethically the 
governing right of one class over another, or of 
one man over millions." 

"Your lordship is running too fast. You will 
bewilder the British public without persuading it 
to follow you. Show your fellow-citizens a 
materially reformed London before you can 
interest them in a regenerated universe. You 
have already developed their altruism in teaching 
them to be their own policemen ; you have very 
nigh persuaded them that honesty is the best 
policy in replacing self-interest by fair dealing : 
162 



The Storm of London 

you may, with your system of telephone, bring 
them to see that veracity is the only means of 
communication, now that sensational journalism 
has disappeared from our civilisation." 

One morning, as Lionel was sitting in his 
library, he looked up at his father's portrait, and 
wondered whether the latter would have approved 
of all that was going on in London. Perhaps, 
had he lived to see this social metamorphosis 
father and son would have understood each other 
at last. It filled Lionel's heart with pity to think 
of the tragic life of past London. Next day he 
sent his father's portrait to the In Memoriam 
Museum with a few others, amongst which was 
his mother's portrait in Court dress. He could 
hardly view this likeness of a past glory 
without shuddering, while an aching pain gnawed 
at his heart as he recalled the whole bearing of 
the model who had sat for the picture. In a few 
days nearly all the Upper Ten had dispatched 
their family pictures. The In Memoriam 
Museum was over-crowded with ancestral effigies ; 
so much so that Lionel determined to speak to his 
architect for the purpose of building, in the 
suburbs, another Museum. This raised an uproar 
amongst the fastidious critics of the Vane and 
Sinclair type. 

" Where is art going ? " 
163 



The Storm of London 

" What, that glorious Gainsborough picture of 
your celebrated grandmother ! Is that to be re- 
legated to a country gallery ? " said Vane to the 
Duchess of Southdown. 

" And that suggestive Lely of your great-great- 
grand-aunt! Is that to come down from your 
wall ? " apostrophised Sinclair. 

"Fie, for shame! Where is your family 
pride?" indignantly echoed Lord Mowbray, who 
had sold his last ancestral likeness the year before 
to a picture-dealer. 

No doubt there was a small minority of mal- 
contents that failed to see any good in the efforts 
of the majority who worked at public reforms. 
To men like Montagu Vane, Sinclair, Murray; 
to women like the Honourable Mrs Archibald, 
Lady Carey, this present condition of social 
pandemonium was the beginning of the end. A 
Society in which a lady could be mistaken for a 
night rover, and vice versa, and in which an omni- 
bus driver was taken for a member of the peerage, 
was not tolerable, and it would inevitably lead to 
a general rising of the lower classes against their 
betters. They argued that point hotly, and there 
was no persuading them, or even discussing with 
them this point, that perhaps there would be no mis- 
taking a lady for a trull in our reformed world, for 
this very reason, that there would be no longer any 
164 



The Storm of London 

need for marketable flesh when all social injustice 
and inadequacies had been removed. They de- 
clared, it was quite impossible : human nature was 
human nature all over the world, and as long as 
man existed there was to be a hunt for illicit 
enjoyment. They even affirmed that the present 
state of nature would surely end in licentious 
chaos, as there was nothing to repress personal 
lust now, and that very soon London would sur- 
pass Sodom and Gomorrah in vice and crime. 
There was nothing to say to that, and Danford 
advised Lionel to let them talk all the nonsense 
they liked. Facts again were to be brought to 
bear on the social question, as nothing else could 
alter the opinions of the malcontents. Another 
point which Montagu Vane was very fond of 
arguing was the question of cleanliness. Accord- 
ing to him, the great unwashed would more 
than ever exhibit their filth, to which the little 
humourist of past Music Halls replied in his 
practical philosophy, that dirt would disappear 
with the downfall of outward finery. He analysed 
thus : vanity was inherent with the human race, 
therefore, when the flesh was the only garment 
man could boast of, he would keep that spotlessly 
clean. Vane pooh-poohed all these views ; 
besides, he did not like philosophy, and he only 
tolerated buffoons on the platform. It is true that 

165 



The Storm of London 

Vane was an object lesson in daintiness, and had 
carried this external virtue to the highest point ; 
in fact, as Danford said : " No one feels properly 
scrubbed and groomed when Mr Vane emerges 
from his Roman bath exhaling a perfume of roses 
and myrrh." 

Montagu Vane was of a small stature, but 
admirably proportioned ; his hair, now grey, was 
very fine, and curled closely to his scalp ; his walk 
had a spring which added suppleness to his 
limbs. He was a boudoir Apollo who had grown 
weary of Olympic games, and of gods and 
goddesses, and who had one day daintily tripped 
down from his pedestal to join the crowd of modern 
pigmies. When the storm broke over London, 
Vane was close on tearing his curly hair, as he 
realised that something had to be done to save 
his position. For was he not arbiter in all matters 
of art ? Still, he was not the sort of man to be 
baffled by a few buckets of water, and he set to 
work redecorating his house. Suddenly he be- 
thought himself of a struggling Italian who, the 
previous year, had come to see whether London 
Society would take up the art of fresco, of which 
the secrets had been handed down to him by 
ancestors skilled in that primitive art. Montagu 
always made a point of helping young artists up 
the social ladder ; he gave them a lift up the first 
166 



The Storm of London 

step, advised them for the second rung, and 
invariably said by-by to them until they met at 
the top, which they rarely ever did. From that 
day Paolo Cinecchi worked at Vane's walls, and 
the fantastic arabesques and subjects he designed 
on black-painted backgrounds turned out to be a 
suitable set-off for groups of Apollos and Venuses. 
The Upper Ten at once took to this mode of 
decoration, and Cinecchi's name was in every 
mouth. Montagu was past master in worldly 
savoir-faire^ and as an Amphytrion surpassed every 
London hostess by his ability in gathering round 
his table the idlers and toilers of smart Society and 
Bohemianism. He was no philosopher, and lived 
artificially, harbouring a profound horror of 
intensity ; it made him blink. Greek in his tastes, 
he was thoroughly British in his selfish isolation. 
He saw many, mixed in the social and artistic 
world, but he merely skimmed people. He was 
busy with trifles, and utterly devoid of any sense 
of humour. His success in Society had principally 
lain in his many-sided mediocrity ; for mediocrity 
is always pleasing, but when it is varied, it is 
delightful. His views on politics, his impressions 
on social problems reminded one of an article out 
of the Court Circular Journal; whilst his ex- 
periences of life had been taught him in the shaded 
corners of a Duchess's drawing-room, or in 
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The Storm of London 

the smoking - room of a smart Continental 
hotel. 

After all, Society was responsible for the 
creation of this hybrid the dilettante. The Upper 
Ten in its hours of ennui had conceived this strange 
cross-breed ; but in its mischievousness it had 
taken good care to endow their offspring with the 
same impotency that characterises the product of 
horse and donkey ! Society loved these unfruitful 
children, it fondled them, shielded their deficiency 
from the world's sneers, and although it had 
doomed them to eternal barrenness, still it guarded 
the approach to these home-made fetishes, and 
surrounded them with barriers with this inscrip- 
tion affixed : " Hands off." But in the present 
emergency, Society showed itself ingrate towards 
these little mannikins who had amused it, and it 
turned away from them, to seek the help of the 
Music Hall artists, into whose arms the smart 
men and women of London Society threw 
themselves. 

Thus the majority unconsciously worked at the 
regeneration of London; although they would 
have sneered had anyone told them that they 
were all endeavouring to realise the Socialist's 
dream self-government. 

The proroguing of Parliament for an indefinite 
period had removed one stumbling-block on the 
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The Storm of London 

road to that goal. Honourable members, Peers of 
the Realm, had migrated to their country seats, or 
retired to private life in town, awaiting patiently 
for better times ; for they firmly believed that the 
country could not prosper without them, and they 
absolutely denied that the British lion could ever 
rest quiet with the reins of Government loose on 
his mane. 

Was the Earl of Somerville conscious of his evo- 
lution ? He was certainly developing into a seer, 
although he was in no danger of being carried 
away by speculative theories, as long as Danford 
stood at his elbow, raising his sarcastic voice when- 
ever my lord was tempted to fly off at a tangent. 
When the latter suggested that they should consult 
the venerable scientists of Albemarle Street, 
Danford stopped him very sharply. " My lord, do 
not look to the Royal Institute for any explanation 
of this phenomenon. They have not yet grasped 
the cause of the storm, and remain quite obdurate 
in their opinions. They cannot understand what 
has suddenly occasioned the collapse of every loom 
in England ; and I know for a fact, that they are 
actually meditating to lead back the men and 
women of the twentieth century to the primitive 
usage of the spindle ! " 

" Ah ! my dear buffoon, let us leave the 
sages of Albemarle Street to their Oriental 

169 



The Storm of London 

beatitude ; they may be useful later on when we 
have solved the problem." 

" Yes, my dear Lord Somerville, for the present 
look inwardly to find the solution of some of life's 
mysteries. Do the work that lies close to you, as 
the parish curates say, and do it promptly. We 
are in the same plight as Robinson Crusoe on his 
island. Keen observation, patience and indomit- 
able will-power saved the two exiles from sure 
death ; and the dogmatising of sedentary dry-as- 
dusts would have been of no avail to them, as it is 
of no earthly use to us in this terrible crisis." 



170 



CHAPTER XII 

" I AM very thirsty, Eva." Lady Carey had just 
come in from her drive, after having much enjoyed, 
as well as admired, the new system of be-your-own- 
policeman. She was not lacking in the power 
of observation, and could very well appreciate 
the rational side of London's new mode of life ; 
although she would sooner have perished than 
owned to anyone her thoughts on the subject. 

" Let me pour you a cup of tea, mother," replied 
Eva, as she went to the tea table. " I forgot to tell 
you that Gwen had returned to town. I saw her 
this morning at the dining-halls and she struck 
me as being more beautiful than ever." 

" Gwen used to be a very smart girl," sneeringly 
remarked Lady Carey, as she took the cup 
handed to her. 

" I mean that her expression is more ethereal 
than ever, mother. She gives one the impression 
that a radiant vision has been revealed to her." 

" My dear girl she looked on Lionel ! and 
he is no mean creature." Lady Carey gave vent 
to her suppressed mirth. " When did they 
171 



The Storm of London 

return from their what d'ye call it moral 
spring cleaning?" 

"Mother, how can you be so irreverent? Do 
you not think it very sensible of them to run 
away from the crowd, and hide their bliss in 
the wilderness?" 

" No, I call it decidedly vulgar." 

"But when you married, did you not send all 
your social duties to Jericho ? You must 
have longed for solitude with the man you 
loved." 

" Not at all, my dear ; there was plenty of time 
for all that when we went to Italy after the 
wedding. Besides, we did not mention these 
things in my time ; one did what everyone else did, 
it was neither painful nor exhilarating, it was the 
custom, and one thought no more of it. But 
there is something clownish in running away any- 
how, and Heaven knows where, as these two have 
done." 

" Gwen says they were supremely happy 
staying with two cottagers." 

" Labourers ! The girl must be demented. I 
could pass over their evading the religious 
ceremony ; I am not bigoted, and pride myself 
on being large-minded ; but when the flower 
of our aristocracy behave like shoe-blacks, I do 
think it is time to cry out. I cannot forgive them 
172 



The Storm of London 

their want of good taste, and am inclined to believe 
they do it for effect." 

" Oh, dear ! no, mother. They believe intensely 
in the reform of Society." 

" Such strong opinions are unseemly ; and it 
is hardly the thing to take such a serious step 
in life, without advising your friends and acquaint- 
ances." 

" I do not see what Society has to do with 
private life," answered Eva, who was standing at 
the foot of her mother's couch. 

" My dear child, it is downright anarchism ! 
Where is the moral restraint that keeps us all 
in order ! We may frown at dull, old Mrs 
Grundy ; but no well-organised Society can very 
well do without her, after all." 

" Oh ! Mrs Grundy died from the shock of 
seeing herself in nature's garb. She was only a 
soured old schoolmistress, who each morning 
glanced at the columns of her Court Journal with 
suspicious eyes. She ran down the names of 
births, marriages and deaths, chuckling inwardly 
at the comforting feeling that all her social 
infants were well under her thumb, and that none 
had escaped her lynx eye." 

" I hear a ring at the bell," suddenly interrupted 
Lady Carey. 

" Do you expect anyone, mother dear ? " 
173 



The Storm of London 

" Not anyone, dear child. But it is Thursday, 
and that used to be my day at home." The 
dainty woman sighed heavily. 

"I think I hear Lionel's voice in the hall." 
Eva turned towards the door as it was opened 
to let in Lady Somerville and her husband. 

" I am glad to see you, Gwen " Lady Carey 
rose to kiss the Countess. " Well, Lionel," as 
she resumed her seat on the couch, " I am 
ashamed of you. What on earth possessed you 
to carry her off in that wild fashion ? You 
know, my dear boy, a good many centuries have 
passed since Adam and Eve, and I have no 
doubt that the Almighty Himself would consider 
their conduct improper." 

"You are the same as ever, Lady Carey, as 
lighthearted as of yore." 

" You surely did not expect me to change my 
views, did you, dear Lionel ? You are too funny 
for words ! But I suppose that is your privilege. 
You always do whatever you like and are 
accepted wholesale by the rest of the world. 
Luckily nothing can alter the fact that you are 
a gentleman." 

" Oh ! for goodness' sake strike out that word 
from your vocabulary ! " hotly exclaimed Lionel. 
" It means absolutely nothing but impunity to do 
every disgraceful action under the sun." 
i74 



The Storm of London 

" I beg your pardon, my dear Lionel, the word 
means everything. A bad action committed by a 
gentleman is very different from one committed 
by a plebeian ; the first knows what he is about, 
and whatever he does, he never forgets that he 
is born a gentleman." 

" The more shame to him for not behaving like 
one," muttered Lionel. 

" Oh I dear boy, you are too radical, indeed. 
Well, tell me, had you many sins to confess ? 
Had Gwen a heap of peccadilloes on her 
conscience ? " 

Lionel smiled, but remained silent. 

" Oh ! oh ! are they so appalling that my 
matronly ear cannot hear them ? Fie on you 
both !" and Lady Carey looked very arch. 

"These are mysteries that we have tried to 
solve alone." 

" Where has your sense of humour gone to, 
my poor fellow? But, never mind, forgive my 
importunate questions ; you don't know how 
ghastly dull life has become. Everything is so 
uniform, the days so long, the amusements so 
scarce; and what dreadful plays your new stage 
Society is producing ! Oh ! my dear boy, it is 
too awful. Still, one must go to them, or else 
we should all be left out in the cold, and Society 
would crumble away." 

i75 



The Storm of London 

"And you really believe that Society does 
exist ? " sententiously questioned Danford, as he 
entered the room and bowed to the hostess. 
" There is nothing so pernicious as delusions, 
Lady Carey ; Society is a huge spectrum reflecting 
all sorts of coloured shapes, which appear to each 
one perfect in contour. No one ever thinks of 
striking the lens, because they each of them have 
seen their own likeness reflected in it, and believe 
in its reality. But the reality is only the 
semblance of reality ; strike the lens, and the 
likeness will suddenly appear out of proportion ; 
and when broken to atoms, the whole phantas- 
magoria will vanish, leaving the real substance 
untouched. You have lived under the delusion 
that the social phantom was substantial ; you 
must admit now that it was a deity created 
by man." 

" It would not exist any longer were we to 
give up playing our part in the tournament ; but 
there is still life in the old British lion, Mr 
Danford. Do take a cup of tea." 

"A Society in which members do not know 
each other, even by sight, has not many chances 
of leading the game." 

"Don't you find, Mr Danford, that we are 
making progress in what you call the science of 
observation ? " inquired Lady Carey. 
176 



The Storm of London 

" It is difficult to tell, Lady Carey. I do not 
find that we always deal with conscientious pupils. 
Observation can be developed in time ; but it is 
the lack of memory that is so disastrous. Mrs 
Webster, for instance, cannot remember more 
than half-a-dozen faces." 

"Dear me, my dear guide, I do not wish to 
remember more than that number at present." 

" Ah ! but Mrs Webster is not exclusive, and 
she had to give up having a reception the other 
day, because her guide had sprained his ankle. 
Mind you, Mrs Webster is sincere, she wishes 
to improve in the art ; but other pupils are more 
puzzling, as, for instance, the vain people, who 
make hopeless blunders, and insist on telling you 
they know quite well who's who, but they are 
having you on ; this makes our work most trying." 
No sooner had Danford spoken these words, 
than the door was thrown open, and Montagu 
Vane and Sinclair entered. Lady Carey smiled 
on them and offered her right hand to be kissed. 

" How delightful it is to know that there are 
a few alas ! a very few salons where one can 
go and have a chat." 

The little Apollo tripped across the room to 
greet Gwen and Lionel. 

" My dear Mr Vane, I am afraid I am the only 
one here who can sympathise with you." 
M 177 



The Storm of London 

" If we do not strongly oppose this vulgarising 
view of life, art will totally disappear from our 
social circles," remarked Sinclair, as he sat down 
on a small settee beside Eva. 

" Yes," echoed Vane, " I am doing my level 
best to devise some means of checking this 
downfall of art. I suggested to Lord Mowbray 
this morning that we should invent a sort of 
artificial vestment. This is my plan. Each one 
would carry round his neck, wrist or waist, 
a small electric battery, which would throw 
a lovely colour all over one's body, which 
would at least adorn, if it could not conceal 
it." 

"What a strange thing that we should, in a 
London drawing-room, openly discuss this question 
of nudity, when a few weeks ago no respectable 
person would have admitted the existence of 
shirt or trousers," laughingly remarked Lady 
Carey. 

"Ah! that was the British cant!" retorted 
Lionel. " Let us hail the storm which knocked 
that false modesty out of us all." 

" My dear Lady Carey," resumed Vane, " it is 
not a question of decency at present, but a matter 
of artistic feeling. I should propose organising 
the thing in this way : Dukes would have a red 
colour thrown over their lordly forms ; Earls and 
178 



The Storm of London 

Barons a blue shade ; Baronets, yellow ; commoners 
would have no colour, but the members of the 
Royal Family would have red and yellow stripes. 
Ladies would naturally have their shades too, 
according to their rank : Duchesses, pink ; 
Countesses, pale green ; and so on. This is a 
rough sketch of course." 

" I quite see what you mean, Mr Vane," re- 
marked Danford ; " a sort of mirage peerage." 

Montagu Vane glanced up at the remark, and 
curtly replied, " It would at all events acquaint 
the public with the social standing of the 
person whom he elbowed in the street, and 
differentiate a peer of the realm from a social 
guide." 

" Or a dilettante? mischievously added Danford. 

" I should have thought that what was more 
important than finding out in what way one man 
was differentiated from another, was to discover 
the points in which they were alike," said Lionel. 
" You are catching at a straw, my dear Montagu ; 
your system is shallow, and you will never per- 
suade the Upper Ten of its practicableness. For 
my part, I plainly refuse to envelop my carcass 
with a Loie Fuller's sidelight." 

" Your decision is law amongst your peers, my 
lord," and Danford bowed. 

" We had better start a Society for the obtain- 
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The Storm of London 

ing of accurately reported news. Newspapers 
have disappeared, and with them the necessity 
has died out for falsifying the truth," said 
Lionel. 

" I do protest," interrupted Sinclair, " against 
plain facts being handed to me by unimaginative 
people who pass on an ungarnished piece of 
news without as much as adding one poor little 
adjective. It is too brutally literal." 

" It all comes, as I was saying," apologetically 
remarked Vane, " from a complete lack of artistic 
feeling." 

" There you are right," hurriedly said Lionel ; 
" for Parliament is broken up from the lack of 
dramatic power in its members, and militarism 
will inevitably die out with the disappearance of 
military distinctions." 

"And dramatic art is buried since the study 
of local colour and environment has been 
abandoned," sharply added Vane. 

" Yes," sadly echoed Lady Carey, " imagination 
has been insulted by some terrible creature called 
Nature." 

" Dear Lady Carey," suavely murmured the 
little dilettante, " we can thank God that we have 
still a few salons though, alas ! a very few where 
we can bask in the sunshine of gossip." Then 
turning to Lionel, " But do not let me deter you 
1 80 



The Storm of London 

from your plan ; and pray telephone to me when- 
ever you want my house for your new Society. I 
consider it a duty to keep en evidence; if we 
cannot prevent your reforms, we can at least 
patronise them, for when Society ceases to lead, 
it will disappear." 

" You are speaking words of the greatest 
wisdom, Mr Vane," said Danford, "words which 
make me think deeply. You could indeed do a 
great deal for the sake of Society, by urging upon 
members of the Royal Family that it is in their 
power to prevent the annihilation of their 
house." 

" In what way can I do this ? " Vane turned 
towards the little artist ; in an instant he seemed 
to have forgotten his grievance against the tribe 
of buffoons. 

" Well, Mr Vane, the illness of Mrs Webster's 
guide made me ponder these grave questions, and 
I discussed the point with the Committee of 
Social Guides. We all know what a gift Royal 
Princes possess for remembering faces ; therefore 
we have come to the conclusion that such a talent 
should not be wasted. Someone must discreetly 
approach our Royal Highnesses, and beg of them 
to allow their names to be added to the list of 
social guides. You will no doubt agree with me 
that this is the only way in which our Royal 
181 



The Storm of London 

Family can be made useful, for since the storm, 
nothing has been heard of them, and no one seems 
to know what they are up to." 

" The suggestion is not a bad one, Mr Danford," 
slowly answered Vane. " We all know how eager 
our Princes are to meet every wish of their 
subjects." 

" Yes, this is indeed true," added Lady Carey, 
" and Society might then recover some of its 
prestige." 

" I do not know whether these illustrious guides 
will have any sidelights to throw on life's 
problems, or any philosophical aper$u on human 
beings ; but those who will employ them will be 
sure, at any rate, of an infalliable guide to the 
finding of a person's identity, and of an accurate 
knowledge of the Peerage which would put a 
Debrett to shame. Although I myself believe 
that since the disappearance of garments, the 
public has become eager to know that which lies 
concealed within the inner heart of men and 
women." 

" This idea of Royal Guides is sure to take like 
wild-fire amongst the American millionaires," 
broke in Lionel. 

" There you are right," briskly retorted Vane, 
" but that reminds me that we have not seen any- 
thing of the fashionable Yankees." 
182 



The Storm of London 

" I can tell you about them, Mr Vane," mysteri- 
ously answered the little buffoon. " They are 
meditating ; and although you do not notice their 
presence, still they are at large ; but the mot 
dordre has been given to all the guides never to 
disclose the identity of the United States' citizens 
until they give us leave." 

" How lonely it must be for them to remain in 
that isolation," remarked Lady Carey. 

" Not a bit of it," replied Lionel ; " they are 
quite able to entertain each other. It is we who 
are the losers, not they, for the invasion of 
American heiresses upon our Piccadilly shores 
has vivified our rotten old Society. Lord 
Petersham used to remark that our girls looked 
like drowned mermaids at the end of the 
season, whilst an American maiden was as fresh 
at Goodwood as she had been at the Private 
View." 

" Quite true," said Sinclair, " the American girl 
is cute, not blase" 

"Yes," broke in Lady Carey, "she came over 
here to have a good time and carried that creed up 
to the last." 

"They invariably aim straight and high," 
continued Lionel, "and the Americans will be 
the first to attach Royal Guides to their house- 
holds." 

183 



The Storm of London 

" I wonder which of our Royal Princes Mrs 
Pottinger will choose ? " said Lady Carey, burst- 
ing out laughing. " I cannot help roaring when I 
think of the vulgar woman entertaining us all in 
her palace. There she was on deck, full sail and 
long-winded ; for hours she would hold forth on 
English politics, Christian science, European 
hotels, with that rhythmical monotony so peculiar 
to her race." 

" That is just why they will carry the day, if you 
do not look out," wistfully remarked Danford; 
"their memory is always ready to help their 
fluency." 

" The conversation of an American," said 
Sinclair, " resembles a sermon without a text, an 
address minus the vote of thanks." 

" You know what she called London Society ? " 
inquired Lord Somerville. " She named it her 
buck-jumper; but she was bent on mastering it, 
although it kicked and reared as she forced her 
gilded spurs into its flanks. At times the incon- 
gruity of the buck-jumper fairly puzzled her. 
One thing she could not swallow, that was 
Society's meanness. You know what she said 
to the Duke of Salttown ? ' That England was 
the country for cheap kindness and expensive 
frauds.' " 

"Ha! ha! ha!" they all laughed. 
184 



The Storm of London 

" Wonderful race ! " exclaimed Sinclair, 
" whether it is the President of the United States, 
a cow-boy, or a fashionable woman, they are all 
gifted with that intuition which divines ' friend ' 
or ' foe ' in each face they meet ; just as the red 
Indian measures distance with his far-seeing 
eye, and discovers a white spot on the horizon 
which is likely to develop into a blizzard. In 
everything they undertake, they first see the 
aim, go for it, win it, and sit down afterwards 
without a flush or a puff." 

"Perhaps America is destined to shape our 
future civilisation," said Lady Carey ; " I am sure 
I do not care who is to be our saviour, as long as 
we are saved from this anarchy." 

" My dear Lady Carey," replied Lord Somerville, 
as he walked to the chimney and leaned his 
elbow on the marble mantelpiece, " we shall have 
to coin another word for the future Society that 
is staring us in the face, for the old word civilisa- 
tion has a nasty flavour about it. At times we 
have worn war-paint and feathers ; at others, 
charms round our necks, crosses on our hearts, 
decorations on our breasts ; but the cruelty of 
the savage was no more execrable than the 
dogmatic ferocity of Torquemada, nor in any 
way more inhuman than the ruthlessness of 
George I. Nor was Queen Eleanor's kerchief 
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The Storm of London 

more indicative of mediaeval depravity than 
Queen Elizabeth's frill an emblem of Renaissance 
levity. Each of these historical eras was but a 
different stage of barbarism. We had more 
ornaments than Hottentots, and less principles 
than monkeys. As long as we have two different 
creeds, half-a-dozen codes of honour, and 
hundreds of punctilios, we shall never be civilised. 
Instead of adding more labels to human beings, 
we must, first of all, find out what a human being 
is. We are taught virtue in the nursery, but we 
are compelled to commit crimes when out of it. 
The morning prayer says one thing, and life as 
we make it teaches another. Step by step we 
are trained to family deceit, political Pharisaism, 
commercial fraud, diplomatic mendacity, art 
quackery ; and all that in the name of a 
Redeemer who lashed the vendors out of the 
temple, and died for the love of truth and 
peace." 

11 Someone said that it needed three genera- 
tions to make a gentleman/' murmured Vane in 
his silvery voice. 

" No doubt the dogmatist who said that must 
have thought of Poole and La Ferriere as the 
modern Debretts ; for our present aristocracy is 
nothing more than a nobility of vestments. 
Generation after generation has handed down 
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The Storm of London 

to us the art of carrying the soldier's sword, the 
judge's robes, the Court train, or of bearing a proud 
head under the Prince of Wales's nodding plumes. 
It is the atavism of garment which has made us 
what we are. But in the race of life; in the 
fight for the post of honour ; in the hour of 
darkness and sorrow, when failure brings down 
the curtain on our lives, clothes will be of no 
help. The noble sweep of a satin train, the long- 
inherited art of bowing oneself out of a room, 
will be of little service in the final bowing out 
into eternity. Your grandmother's corselet or 
your great-grandfather's rapier and jerkin will 
lie idly on the ground, for we are not allowed 
any luggage on the other side. The real fact 
is that the whole social structure was a big 
farce." 

" A farce more likely to turn into a tragedy," 
saucily retorted Vane. "See how matters are 
going on in South Africa ; or at least see what 
is not going on ; for by this time we must be the 
laughing-stock of a handful of farmers. War is 
bound to cease, and we shall have to retreat 
ignominiously, as we cannot send any more men 
out there, owing to the confusion at the War 
Office. It appears they cannot distinguish our 
valiant officers from the men." 

"Ah! This is the first blow struck at the 
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The Storm of London 

principle of warfare," replied Lionel. " When you 
think of it in cold blood, it is quite impossible 
to admit of war. Try and boycott your neighbour, 
persuade him into giving up his will to yours ; 
order his meals, eat three parts of them yourself, 
invade his house, break his furniture ; and if he in 
any way objects, then use the convincing argu- 
ments of artillery and bayonets. After that, you 
will see how it works." 

" Yes, the history of nations is nothing else but 
a series of thefts, murders and duplicity ; and were 
any of our personal friends to commit a quarter of 
what sovereigns and governments commit in one 
day's work, we should promptly strike their names 
off our visiting list," said Gwendolen. Perhaps this 
remark struck home, for no one replied. Vane 
got up briskly on to his feet, and bowed daintily 
over Lady Carey's hand. 

"Ta-ta, Mr Dan ford," he nodded to the little 
mimic, and left the room. 

" I shall walk a little way with you, Lionel," said 
Sinclair, who had got up to say good-bye to his 
hostess. 

" Come along with us," replied Lionel. " Good- 
bye, dear Lady Carey. I am going to ring up old 
Victor de Laumel by telephone, and ask him what 
they think of us in ' la ville lumiere? " 

" My dear boy," said Lady Carey, " you may be 
1 88 



The Storm of London 

sure of this, that the smart Parisians would have 
found a way out of this difficulty before now. But 
at any rate, they never would have taken it au 
serieux, as you are doing ; for they are too 
punctilious on the question of good taste, and 
more than anything fear ridicule ! " 



189 



CHAPTER XIII 

A FEW days after this animated discussion at Lady 
Carey's, there were to be seen dashing along Pall 
Mall numerous chariots which halted at the ex- 
Walton Club, where also fair ladies were alighting 
from their wheeled couches (these had been 
designed by Sinclair at Lionel's suggestion). 
There were also public conveyances of a practical 
and artistic shape, made to accommodate several 
passengers in a comfortable posture. The fastidious 
designer could not conceal his satisfaction at the 
disappearance of advertisements, which formerly 
had distracted his aesthetic mind, and roused 
his indignation at the public's gullibility. The 
Walton was filling fast. Everyone interested 
in the future of art was there, as Lord Somerville 
had promised to give an address on the Royal 
Academy ; and the telephones had been kept going 
by friends and acquaintances of his, inviting their 
friends to attend the meeting. 

Who was that throwing the reins to his groom and 
jumping out of his chariot ? A familiar face. Of 
course, it was H.R.H. the Duke of Schaum, so well 
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The Storm of London 

known to every shoe-black. He had been the very 
first Royal Prince to apply to the Committee of 
Social Guides and was now the mentor of Mrs 
Webster. It was only natural that the eldest of 
the Princes should make the first move, for rulers 
still they were, if only in name and amongst them- 
selves. The other members of the august family 
had rushed zealously into the arena, and they were 
all enjoying the work. Here was Montagu Vane 
walking up the steps and entering through the 
swing doors at the same time as H.R.H. the Duke 
of Schaum who occasionally, when Mrs Webster 
gave him time to breathe, instructed the dilettante 
in the art of knowing who was who. Vane had 
not yet adopted a chariot ; when he was not going 
far from home he walked, on other occasions he 
would ask his friend Mowbray to give him a lift ; 
for Lord Mowbray had greatly improved in the 
handling of the ribbons. He had lately attached 
to his service a young member of the Royal 
Family, for he could endure no one lower than a 
scion of royalty as his constant companion through 
life ! Lord Petersham, his hand on old Watson's 
shoulder, was slowly mounting the steps. Watson 
had lost his insular swagger, while his lordly 
companion was daily forgetting his love of party 
politics as he learnt more of humanity. Since they 
were no more beholden to each other for liberal 
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The Storm of London 

cheques, and introductions into Society, the two 
men understood each other better. On their heels 
rushed Tom Hornsby; he was here, there and 
everywhere, witty Tom ; raillery was still his 
weapon, but he appeared very old-fashioned to 
his contemporaries, whilst his satirical outbursts 
seemed now more antiquated than the Tatler or 
Spectator of Georgian civilisation. There, with 
his nonchalant demeanour, came along George 
Murray, who had, a few days previously, begged his 
publishers to destroy his last MS., as he wished to 
observe the turn of events before bringing out his 
next novel. 

The hall was full, but not overcrowded. The 
Parliamentarians and many of the members in 
the Upper House still kept away in the country, 
where, unconsciously, they did some good work 
in the resuscitation of rural life. It was re- 
markable what the so-called leading classes 
could do now that the greatest incentive to 
snobbery had been torn from their backs. But 
Danford had always prophesied as much to his 
pupil. 

Groups were forming in the spacious hall; in 
one corner were Mrs Archibald, Lady Carey and 
Montagu Vane ; whilst in one of the large bow 
windows overlooking the garden was Hornsby, 
feverishly expounding some State paradox to 
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Lord Mowbray and a few more ex-club men. 
Men came in, bowed to each other even when 
they did not recognise each other for politeness 
and courtesy had been found to be the best 
policy ; women lay down on large couches 
carved in the walls, talking gaily to one another, 
without any superciliousness. Simplicity and 
graciousness was the order of the day. Many 
said that they could not do otherwise than be 
natural : " It is by force that we are simple, not by 
taste." But never mind what caused this trans- 
formation, the point at least was gained: very 
often the scoffer who hurls a stone at a new 
edifice, in course of time sees his very weapon 
help to build that which he intended to destroy. 
That is the irony of Fate. 

" You will never convince me that this kind of 
democracy can last," said Mrs Archibald to 
Danford, as the latter accompanied Lionel. " I 
think it is most infra dig. of our Royal Family to 
forget who they are and to lose the little bit of 
prestige which they possessed. The lowest 
urchin in the street looked up to our Royalty. 
Do you believe anything good can come of 
their vulgarising themselves as they do?" 

" It was quite natural that the lower classes 
should have looked up to their rulers," replied 
Dan, "for they had, for centuries, told them to 
N 193 



The Storm of London 

do so. As you know, madam, the power of gross 
credulity is great in the British nation, therefore 
they will only believe you to be their equals when 
you repeatedly tell it to them." 

" I always thought, Mr Danford " Vane's voice 
was pitched unusually high "that you were cut 
out for a missionary, and possessed the necessary 
gifts to set right all social wrongs." 

" My dear Mr Vane," replied the buffoon, 
" there often is a gospel wrapped up in a howling 
joke. My long experience at the Tivoli and 
other Music Halls taught me my Catechism more 
exhaustively than my early attendance at Sunday 
Schools." 

" Somerville is mounting the platform," remarked 
George Murray to a group of Royal Academicians 
Silence soon reigned, enabling the clear, ringing 
voice of the lecturer to be heard. 

" Ladies and gentlemen, I have a new plan to 
submit to you." (" Hear ! hear ! ") " A plan which 
suggested itself to me after my first visit, this 
season, to the Royal Academy. I was struck by 
the attitude of the public, and noticed group after 
group passing scornfully in front of portraits, 
historical subjects, and war pictures. In fact, very 
few were the pictures that attracted any attention 
at all. Then I observed that landscapes aroused 
a good deal of attention on the part of the dis- 
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The Storm of London 

satisfied crowds, and that pictures representing the 
human form in its Edenic attire were the object 
of their closest observation. I was filled with 
wonderment at the evolution of a public who the 
preceding year had rushed to gaze at pictures by 
Sargent, Orchardson, Collier, Alma Tadema, and 
the rest. As I strolled through the rooms I saw 
many a woman blushing as she came in front of a 
portrait of an over-dressed woman ; men with 
downcast eyes hurried away from the pictures of 
our so-called great men in their military uniforms 
or in any other garments. My first determination 
on leaving the place was to have my portrait 
removed ; and, strange to say, the committee did 
not in any way oppose my wish, as many had 
thought fit, like me, to have their likenesses taken 
away. This is a great sign of the present evolution 
towards true art. I do not for one moment expect 
our artists who have already made their names 
to approve at once of my reform ; but in time they 
may come to see their past errors, as already one 
step towards the reform of art has been taken by 
closing the doors of the Royal Academy." (Here 
there were murmurs amongst the minority of 
malcontents.) "Yes, I heard this very morning 
that this would be the last day of the exhibition ; 
the President having resolved to take this ominous 
resolution to punish the public, and teach them a 
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lesson We must, all of us, bear this well in mind: 
that art cannot any longer, in our new mode of 
life, be the means of obtaining wealth or position, 
and that nature is the sole guide and model which 
is to lead the artist to artistic eminence. As to 
painting garments from memory, the mere notion 
of such a sartorial nightmare ought to make the 
true artist shudder with horror. I therefore pro- 
pose that a committee should be organised, 
similar to the one appointed for the reform of 
public monuments, to judge of the pictures which, 
in future, shall be sent to the Academy. The 
name of the artist would only be submitted to the 
committee after the picture had been accepted or 
rejected. The name of the person who had sat for 
the portrait would equally remain unknown, until 
the majority of the members on the committee 
should have recognised whom it was. The subject of 
an historical picture would likewise remain unre- 
vealed, until the majority of members had been 
able to guess the subject when they looked at the 
picture I see a few R.A.'s at the end of the 
hall, laughing and whispering. I quite under- 
stand their mirth, for they are looking forward to 
mystifying the committee, whose members are 
olten sadly lacking in historical knowledge. I 
can only advise those gentlemen at the end of the 
hall to develop a keener sense of discrimination 
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in the choice of their subjects, before they attempt 
to represent on wood, or copper for there is no 
canvas an historical incident, without the aid of 
local colour or garments. Our stage was reformed 
the day that Nature held up her mirror and 
showed man as God had made him ; fiction said 
her last word when the high pressure of our 
abnormal civilisation suddenly collapsed, and 
allowed man and woman to look into each other's 
eyes, and for the first time realise the abnormal 
condition of their former lives. The same evolu- 
tion awaits plastic art and the painter's avocation, 
for if a committee cannot tell, by looking at a 
picture, what the subject is, they will have to 
retire so as to learn how to observe and how to 
remember. Likewise, if an artist is unable to 
paint his subject without the trapping of garment, 
the sooner such an exponent of art takes to some 
other means of expressing his thoughts, the better. 
The aim of art, in our present civilisation, is to be 
useful, either in the material or the abstract world ; 
and to be useful one must be clear and true 
I hear someone saying that I am limiting art 
most shamefully ; I think it is Mr Vane. No, I 
beg his pardon, truth and lucidity do not limit art. 
Had Mr Vane said that my new plan would limit 
the number of artists he would no doubt have 
been nearer the truth. We need only a very few 
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artists, just as we need very few writers, and you 
will soon see that vanishing of clothes and up- 
holstery will reduce their number. Now, I 
want to propose that a branch should be added to 
this committee, whose work should be to judge 
the past works hanging in our numerous galleries, 
more especially those of our English artists who 
have won fame. Let us take as one example out 
of thousands, ' The Huguenots ' by Millais. Have a 
perfect copy drawn of it, without the clothes which 
cover the figures, and let this picture be shown to 
a committee of historians unacquainted with the 
picture, and ask them to tell you what is ailing 
these three souls at war with each other. I defy 
the committee to tell you. The incidental feud 
which tortures these three souls is merely anecdotal, 
and not an eternally human conflict. How few of 
our standard works would be comprehended 
without the external label which makes the 
subject intelligible. But those few, who would 
escape the public's condemnation, would be 
sufficient to stimulate our young artists who are 
penetrated with a true and disinterested love of 
art. As to the rest who cannot learn the lesson 
taught them by nature, let them put their cerebral 
energy to other uses, either industrial or scientific. 
We are going fast towards the time, when, as 
Prudhon said, ' The artist must at last be 
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convinced of this, that there is no difference 
between an artistic creation and an industrial 
invention.' 

"Instead of limiting art by subjecting its produc- 
tions to truth and lucidity, I believe that we shall 
give a more powerful impetus to artistic expression. 
Our new mode of life will inevitably create 
in us new sentiments, and more simple morals, 
even new sensations, which will inevitably develop 
in us new modes of expressions ; so that a 
greater display of facial expressions will forcibly 
be followed by a richer scale of artistic execution. 
Besides which, we cannot take all the credit to 
ourselves in this reform of art ; the public has 
given us a lesson by scorning the false manifesta- 
tions of art, which inadequately represent his 
present condition. We cannot stop the reform, 
for the current is too strong and we must go with 
it." (Cheers and applause.) " I believe Mr Sinclair 
has a few words to say to you, for which he has 
this morning begged me to ask your indulgence, 
though I feel sure he does not in any way 
need it." 

Lionel left the platform, shook hands with 
several men who had gathered round him, and 
joined the group which included Lady Carey 
and Mrs Archibald. 

Sinclair took the position vacated by Lionel, 
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The Storm of London 

and leaning indolently against the table spoke as 
in a reverie : 

" I have come to tell you, ladies and gentlemen, 
of the death of the art critic." Every head turned 
towards him ; one could have heard a pin drop. 
Sinclair seemed to wake suddenly from his 
meditation at the sound of his own voice, and 
began earnestly to address his audience. " I 
hope you will take it well from me, for you 
know how wedded I was to my profession. 
But if I have come here this day to tell you of 
the total decomposition of the critic, it is only 
after having maturely reflected over, and analysed 
my past career. The eclipse of journalism, the 
judicious weeding of publishers' lists, have worked 
a transformation in our conception of art, be it 
plastic, dramatic or lyric, and we are now asking 
ourselves what caused the feverish infatuation for 
one particular author, painter or musician ? But 
we find it next to impossible to answer. Real 
talent certainly was not sufficient to force the 
market, nor did the eulogies of critics help to 
boom a work which was distasteful to the public. 
On the other hand, no anathema showered at the 
head of a despised author ever stopped the sale 
of his inferior work." (Laughter many heads 
looked round the hall to see if the much-abused 
author was there.) " The critic did not guide the 
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artist, nor did he teach the public what it had to 
admire or condemn. The public was a hydra 
with many heads and many judgments ; from 
the Letters of Elizabeth to Herbert Spencer's 
Ethics, it devoured all, for its appetite was varied 
though at times unhealthy. I am sorry to say 
that the only achievement of the critic was to 
make the public believe he was leading it. It 
was indeed very clever of him to convince the 
hydra of his own importance, and as long as it 
lasted it was well and good ; but the reign of the 
critic was ephemeral, for at every corner the 
public is having its revenge now. The masses 
disdainfully pass in front of pictures we extolled, 
hiss the plays we boomed, and roar at the music 
we admired. We coaxed the public, and con- 
ciliated the fashionable centres of Society so as 
to solidify our position and fill our purses; we 
blinded the many-headed hydra, stuffed cotton- 
wool in its ears, and anaesthetised its power of 
appreciation into believing that we were indis- 
pensable to the development of art. The irony 
of it is, that it is that very public which is giving 
us a colossal lesson. Changed surroundings have 
altered the standard of art; and the hydra is 
giving us tit for tat. We have nothing else to 
do but to retire cheerfully. My dear friends, 
I come to you to cry, Peccavi, and to beg 
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for your forgiveness for past errors of judgment. 
We have no need to dog the artist's footsteps 
when there exists no longer any stimulus to 
inferior work, and when the reign of saleable art 
is over. The era of the artist-his-own-critic is at 
hand. Let the artist fight his battle with the hydra ; 
best of all, leave the artist to fight his own battle 
with his own conscience, for the latter will 
prompt him to do only that which is necessary 
for the happiness of himself and others." 

" What about Sargent ? " broke in the clarion 
voice of Hornsby, who was standing at the end of 
the hall, close to the President of the Academy. 

" Ah ! mea culpa" solemnly uttered Sinclair, 
" when you come to Sargent, you touch the depth 
of artificiality if such a thing can be said. But 
our past Society was the age of tragic frivolity, and 
Sargent was the Homer of that modish Odyssey. 
He illustrated the law of natural selection by 
making garments the main feature in his portraits. 
Under his brush the inner souls of his models 
withered away, while artificial surroundings and 
vestments emphasised in his pictures a condition 
of spurious passions and morbid excitability. Run 
through, mentally, the gallery of Sargent's portraits, 
and you will see their anatomy wither under the 
robe of Nessus. He endowed flounces, feathers 
and ribands with Medusa-like ferocity ; and the 
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The Storm of London 

Laocoon is not more fatally begirded, nor are his 
limbs more piteously crushed by snakes, than are 
these frail women's hearts muffled and hidden by 
clouds of lace and chiffon. Do you remember that 
youth whom he immortalised a few years ago? 
That heir to great properties on whose fatuous 
brow was stamped the mark of the symbol of 
militarism ? That diagonal mark of white skin on 
a sunburnt forehead is a painted satire. Kipling 
gave us a high-flavoured philippic on Tommy 
Atkins ; to Sargent was entrusted the mission of 
immortalising the Tommy of the upper classes. 
Like a faithful chronicler, Sargent intended to 
hand down to posterity the biography of Society 
as he saw it that is to say the living product of 
artificial environment. Hogarth was a dramatic 
historian of the unbridled passions of a brutal 
Society. Disrobe the figures of the Mariage a la 
Mode, or of the Rake's Progress^ and I believe the 
committee, which my friend Lord Somerville wishes 
to appoint to judge our past works of art, will 
easily be able to guess at a glance what tragedy is 
breaking the hearts of these ungentle personages. 
Sargent is the satirist of a clothed Society. His 
models would exist no longer were you to divest 
them of their meretricious furbelows ; for their 
garments are the parts which help to form the 
aggregate of their psychology, and without their 
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The Storm of London 

frills and trimmings, they would merely be 
marionettes stuffed with sawdust and held together 
with screws." (Murmurs from several groups. 
The President of the Academy leaves the hall.) 
" The end of Society was nigh, when it could only 
boast of a School of Athens in which a Socrates 
was a tailor, Aspasia a Court dressmaker, and 
Diogenes an upholsterer. Plato and Aristotle's 
philosophy did not morepotently influence the world 
of thought of their epoch, than did the unappeal- 
able decretals of a Paquin, and the arbitrary ukase of 
a Poole." The small minority of malcontents were 
endeavouring to stop the lecturer, whose clear voice 
managed to drown the hisses and the groans. He 
silenced them all. " We must have the courage to 
face this, for since the late cataclysm, we have 
been suddenly placed on a platform from which we 
are able to clearly view our past civilisation ; and we 
can see that formerly we had no sense of objectivity, 
and that what we erroneously termed the modern 
world was but the heaping together of complexities 
and incongruities. Do you remember that perfect 
short story by Balzac, The Unknown Masterpiece ? 
It is the story of an artist who jealously hides the 
picture he is painting from any intruding eye. He 
alone enters his sanctum, and there for hours he 
works at this great work. One day, some profane 
creature enters the studio, irreverently lifts the 
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curtain which covers the canvas, and sees 
nothing. Blurrs, daubs, uncertain design, in fact, 
confusion is all he can detect. This is what we 
have been doing for centuries ; we daubed and 
smudged our social work for want of a proper 
perspective; we created a huge monstrosity just as 
this artist produced an incomprehensible picture, 
because he, and we, could not judge our production 
from the standpoint of another. I have digressed 
from my subject, and wandered far away from 
what was the purpose of this address. Let 
me conclude by telling you that the miserable 
efforts of the critic are futile in the new era of art 
for art's sake." 

Sinclair, on his way across the hall, was dazed 
by the thunderous applause which greeted him on 
his passage. The group of A.R.A.'s had left the 
hall, no doubt to ponder these weighty questions 
in solitude, and with the exception of Vane, 
Mowbray, Mrs Archibald and their small group, 
the whole audience was acquiescent. 

" I never would have believed it of you, old 
man," sneered Vane. " What is to become of us, 
when men like you, who kept the public taste in 
check, give up the game ? " 

" My dear Montagu, that is just what we did not 
do. We played hide-and-seek with the many- 
headed hydra, and it has collared us now, and our 
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The Storm of London 

game is up. On the day when you see the 
triviality of our past, as I do, you will act as I 
act, and you will say what I have said." 

" My dear fellow" Vane shook his head wisely 
" that is quite impossible unless I become a Goth. I 
am one of those who never alter ; but, the day you 
recognise your folly, you will find me the same as 
ever, ready to welcome you as our critic in all 
matters of art." And he passed on. 

" Ever the same, incorrigible ; I dare not think 
what his end will be." And Sinclair turned his 
steps towards the window where Eva and Gwen 
were sitting. 

" I always told you, darling Eva, that Sinclair 
would be brought unconsciously to understand 
the right purport of life on the day when he 
realised the true meaning of art." Gwen pressed 
Eva's hand. " Sinclair the fastidious, the cynic, 
is no more, and the man whom you honoured with 
your love and trust is coming to claim you." Eva 
laid her head on her friend's shoulder, as she 
watched Sinclair, who was coming towards 
them. 

" Mr Danford," said Lady Carey, who was 
reclining in another window, "you have just 
arrived in time. Do tell us who that is going on 
to the platform ? I am so short-sighted." 

The little satirist briskly turned on his heels 
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The Storm of London 

and looked at the thick-set, purple-faced man who 
was besieging the platform. 

"Why, that is ex-General Wellingford ! " 

"What, the man who bungled so disastrously 
the early part of our African campaign ? " in- 
quired Lady Carey. 

" The very same, madam," answered Danford. 

" I am off," suddenly exclaimed Lionel. " The 
old fellow does not interest me in the least. Be- 
sides, there is nothing more to be said about the 
African campaign since our troops have had to 
return from South Africa, leaving the country and 
the people to themselves. Au revoir^ Lady 
Carey. Are you staying, Mowbray ? " 

" I think it is our duty as loyal subjects to 
listen to what the head of our army has to say," 
stiffly replied Lord Mowbray. 

"Come along then, Dan." The two men left 
the window, and passed through the crowd who 
were loudly discussing the subject of art reform. 
As they came to the next bow window, Lionel 
saw Gwen and Eva engrossed in a lively conversa- 
tion with Sinclair. Lionel stopped, and laying 
his hand on Danford's arm said, " I shall not 
disturb them. When a man has found one of the 
rings that form the chain of life, he must be left to 
rivet it without any interference." 

They passed into the vestibule. 
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The Storm of I ondon 

"What is to be done with the War Office?" 
the rough voice of the ex-general suddenly 
hushed the buzzing causerie ; and these portentous 
words reached the ears of Lionel and Danford as 
they swung the doors open, and passed out. 

"Ha! ha! ha!" Danford held his sides, con- 
vulsed with laughter. "Even the ex-hero of 
civilised warfare is puzzled at what is to be done 
with his obsolete bag of tricks ! " 

"Poor Mowbray will lose another illusion," 
remarked Lionel, and the two men walked up 
toward St James's Park. 



208 



CHAPTER XIV 

" I SHALL do your hair for you, mother dear," 
said Eva one morning. They were both in Lady 
Carey's dressing-room, as it was the time when the 
maid was rung for to attend to her mistress's 
coiffure. 

" A very good idea, Eva. I must say I never 
feel quite at my ease with Elise, and I ring for her 
as seldom as I can now. It does seem so funny 
to give orders to a person who stands just as 
naked as you are." 

" Oh ! I am so glad ! I have been longing to 
arrange your lovely hair in my own way," and Eva 
clapped her hands with joy. 

" You are very brusque, Eva here are the hair- 
pins, and the brush is in that drawer." 

Eva held the mass of auburn hair in her fingers, 
and softly brushed it off the delicate temples of 
her mother. 

" I am afraid, dear child, you have lost a great 
deal of your ladylike grace since you have been a 
o 209 



The Storm of London 

regular attendant at these public tournaments. You 
associate with such a queer lot there ; I am sure it 
must be fatal to good manners." 

In a few seconds Eva had wound the rich coils 
of hair into a Grecian knot on the shapely head of 
her mother. 

" You look a perfect dear, mother ; so like the 
Medici Venus you don't know how perfectly 
lovely you are." The girl kissed Lady Carey and 
sat at her feet. 

" My poor child, I do not know what is to 
become of us all." 

" You need not be anxious, mother" Eva leaned 
her graceful head on her mother's lap. " It is 
useless to try to stem the tide ; nothing that you 
can ever do will prevent what has to be." 

"What do you aim at, child?" asked Lady 
Carey, as she tidied her combs and brushes. 

"Nothing, mother but I often crave for 
freedom." 

" Is there anything you want to say, Eva ? " 
Lady Carey laid her hand on the girl's hair. " I 
have heard and seen such strange things lately, 
that I might just as well know all." 

"Oh! darling mother, I could not bear to do 
anything which you would consider underhand ; 
although my actions would only be the reflection 
of my own convictions." 

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The Storm of London 

Lady Carey took her daughter's face in her two 
hands and stared hard at her. " Are you think- 
ing of doing the same mad thing as Gwen ? If 
so, say it at once ; I had rather be prepared for 
the worst." 

No answer came. Eva dropped her eyelids and 
spoke no word. At last she softly murmured, " I 
love Sinclair." 

" Oh ! for the matter of that, many have done 
the same," derisively remarked her mother, as she 
gently pushed away the face she held. 

" Yes," breathlessly answered the girl, " but he 
loves me." 

" Hum ! He has told that to many. All this 
is nonsense, you must put all this out of your 
silly head. Sinclair is not a marrying man ; 
besides, he is not the husband 7 would wish you 
to have." 

Eva stood up and looked straight at her mother, 
" He is the husband / have chosen." 

" My poor girl, Sinclair is not the man to stick 
to one woman. He is hypercritical and cynical, I 
should even say cruel, where a woman's love is 
concerned." 

" But, mother, he has repudiated his past errors 
you heard what he said a week ago ? " 

" Pooh ! that was only hysteria, it will pass ! It 
is better to speak to you plainly, Eva ; he was 

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Lady Vera's lover for two years. I know all 
about it, as I was her confidante through it all. 
He nearly drove her out of her senses with his 
capricious moods ; her husband, as you know, 
divorced her; and ever afterwards Sinclair 
invented new modes of torture for the woman 
who, I believe, sincerely loved him. She gave 
him up at last and threw herself at the head of 
that silly Bob Leyland, who is good to her in his 
own way." 

" As to Sinclair's relations with Lady Vera, that 
is no news to me, my dear mother. How can a 
girl remain ignorant of these scandals after one 
London season ? If the friends or enemies of 
the man or the woman do not tell her all about it, 
it is very easy for her to find it out for herself. 
Women like Lady Vera are living advertisements, 
and they would no more wish to hide their in- 
trigues than Epps and Cadbury would wish to 
stop the advertising of their cocoas. It is all part 
of the social business ; and the pit and gallery 
would be swindled out of their sport were Society's 
sewers to be thoroughly cleansed." 

" But it will always be the case as long as there 
exists an Upper Ten ; and, after all, when we think 
of it, it was much worse in Charles II. 's time and 
under the Georges," replied Lady Carey. 

" I have no doubt it was so," said Eva. " They 
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The Storm of London 

were coarse, but we are suggestive ; they were 
brutal in the pursuit of indecorous pleasures, we 
are complex in our vulgar dissipations. We com- 
bine the corruption of a Louis XV. with the 
casuist of a Loyola. The Georges were everything 
that is bad, I grant you, but they were not 
effeminate ; they lived up to their standard 
of military chivalry, which we do not, although 
we pretend to believe in a military code of 
honour." 

" What on earth will you put in its place, child ? " 

" Honesty." 

" How suburban, Eva. I expect my grocer or 
my housekeeper to possess that bourgeois 
quality ; but a gentleman must have a higher 
ideal of chivalry." 

"There is nothing more exalted than perfect 
honesty, dear mother ; and the proof is that your 
grocer and your housekeeper cannot afford to live 
up to its standard, for it does not pay." 

" You are quite terrible, Eva, with your subversive 
theories ! I cannot imagine where you picked up 
these queer ideas. I have always been most 
particular to surround you with what we were used 
to call well-bred people." 

" Yes, the Lady Veras and company," retorted 
Eva. 

Lady Carey ignored the remark and continued, 
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The Storm of London 

" I always feared Gwen would have a fatal in- 
fluence over you. But what could I do ? It is so 
difficult to weed out one's friends when one belongs 
to a certain set." 

" My dear mother, Gwen was saved in time, for 
she would have turned into a Lady Vera had not 
Society's foundations suddenly collapsed. She 
had been taught all the tricks of a perfect woman 
of the world, and would have even outdistanced 
Lady Vera, for she possessed more brains and 
more animal spirits. So, you see, there is still 
hope for a Sinclair to develop into a paragon of 
virtue, to suit even your fastidious ideal of a 
son-in-law." 

"My dear Eva, pray do not accuse me of such 
a Philistine notion as to require in my son-in-law 
any of the qualities absolutely needed in a bank 
accountant or in a land agent. Heaven forbid ! 
I am larger minded than that, and I know that a 
man must live. You see, Sinclair is all right, and we 
all run after him and make love to him, and look 
forward to the clever sayings that drop from his 
cynical lips ; but " a pout was on her lips, as she 
looked for the proper word to express her senti- 
ment " well, he is not what we are accustomed to 
consider a gentleman. It is extraordinary how 
these upstarts end by believing they can do any- 
thing. His father was tutor to Lord Farmiloe's 
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The Storm of London 

son; and, instead of going into the army as his 
father wished him to do, Sinclair, after leaving 
Oxford, began to dabble in questionable journal- 
ism, and soon developing that wonderful power of 
criticism, he became the terror of all artists, known 
or unknown. I know, perhaps better than most 
women, what it is to suffer from a man who does 
not consider his wife's love all-sufficient to his 
happiness." Lady Carey relaxed her hard ex- 
pression, her eyes were for one instant dimmed by 
a passing mist, and her lips trembled, whilst a 
lump rose in her throat ; but it was soon over. 
" Your father was a gentleman, and I could not 
wish a daughter of mine to have a more courteous 
man for a husband. He treated me, before the 
world, as he ought to have treated the woman who 
bore his name, and carried on his numerous 
intrigues with the discipline and gallantry of a 
true soldier, who held his sword at the service of 
his king, and his soul at the mercy of his God, 
but brooked no restraint nor reproach from any- 
one in this world." 

" What a convenient way of dismissing all moral 
obligations," remarked Eva. 

" When you have seen as much of the world as 
I have, my dear Eva, you will know that philo- 
sophy plays a large part in our social training, 
and helps to soften the coarseness of life. We 
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The Storm of London 

leave the rioting of the mind to the plebeian classes, 
who have not, like us, to keep up appearances and 
traditions of biensfance" 

"Yes, but the world's philosophy is no longer 
the enduring stoicism of a Spartan, nor is it the 
calm acceptance of human frailty of a Marcus 
Aurelius ; it is a cynical acquiescence in the general 
depravity of the over -fed and over -clothed 
worshippers of Mammon, who smile at their 
neighbour's weaknesses, hoping that he in turn 
will shut his eyes to their foibles. Philosophy 
is your capital which pays you back heavy 
dividends." 

" How bitter you are, my dear girl. You are too 
young to think or speak like that ; and you can- 
not lay down any such rule of conduct. Of course I 
know that things are awkward at present, and 
that the future is not pleasant to contemplate ; 
and it grieves me to the quick that my child 
should be in close contact with the vulgarity of 
life." 

" Do not worry yourself, mother ; I am seeing 
life for the first time, and it is very beautiful. 
Society is as far removed from true life as the sun 
is from the moon. You fashionable mothers have a 
strange way of bringing up your children. As 
the Chinese tortured their women's toes to prevent 
their running away, so you cramped our youthful 
216 



The Storm of London 

minds, obliterated our organ of perception and 
twisted our judgment so as to make us incapable 
of distinguishing right from wrong. You showed us 
little pictures encircled in trivial frames, and told 
us that these were the sights we had to view for 
the rest of our lives. We put questions to you 
about the people with whom you surrounded us in 
our infancy, but you answered scornfully, that 
they were our inferiors whom we need not con- 
sider. Later on, the same game of mystification 
went on with our teachers whom we had to treat 
only as educational cramming machines. When 
we developed into women, the bandages were 
swathed more tightly round our expanding brains, 
and we were then informed, at the most perplex- 
ing cross-roads of our lives, that no decent girl 
inquired into any social problems : a tub, a game 
of golf, and the admission into the smart set were 
all-sufficient to assuage feminine yearning. If, as 
often happened, the hygienic and worldly remedies 
failed to cure the patient, the whole was dismissed 
in these words : ' A lady does not mention such 
things ! ' This was the prologue to matrimony ! 
When you, the mothers of Society, had brought 
your victims safely to the stake, you turned your 
eyes up to heaven and begged for God's blessing, 
which you deserved less than the devil's bene- 
diction, for in your culpable and wilful ignorance 
217 



The Storm of London 

you were playing a ghastly trick in sending out 
defenceless beings into an arena of wild beasts. 
Do you believe that your drawing-room philo- 
sophy will be of any use to the victims of your 
social wisdom ? No, your philosophy thrives on 
champagne and truffles, not on the understanding 
of human passions. How often has a girl brought 
to the conjugal market a young heart and a 
healthy constitution, to close a bargain with a 
cynical flesh dealer ; and very soon had to learn 
how to smuggle cunningly out of the unfair con- 
tract? But it was useless to recriminate with 
the only friend God gave us our mothers ; 
for we were at once advised to read the first part 
of the Marriage Service; and we learnt through 
cruel experience that there was no escape, no 
relief, for those born and bred in our unnatural 
Society." 

" What has come over you, Eva ? Who has been 
poisoning your mind ? " Lady Carey's voice was 
trembling, and she did not dare look at her 
daughter. The latter impulsively fell on her 
knees, and encircling her mother's waist with her 
arms, she said passionately, 

" You believed us to be safe when you had told 
us never to look inside a certain closet ; and like 
Blue Beard you fed us on kick-shaws and soap- 
bubbles as long as we never opened that secret 
218 



The Storm of London 

closet life. Why were we not to know the 
realities of existence ? Why did you travesty life 
into a Music Hall burlesque ? What God created, 
you belittled ; what nature gave to man, you 
turned into a deadly weapon against him. Love 
came into the world, pure and generous, but it was 
led astray in social haunts and became debauchery ; 
ambition prompted man to create something true 
and beautiful, but he wandered in trimmed paths 
of artificiality, and his natural instinct was trans- 
formed into a passion for worldly power and 
riches. What you called character was merely 
callousness erected into a principle ; what you 
thought was philosophy was only an abnormal 
power of frivolity, which would have made even a 
butterfly blush. Oh ! mother, mother, cannot you 
see what a sham it all was ? " 

Lady Carey was not unintelligent; she knew 
that what her daughter said was perfectly correct. 
She quite realised that this was what they had 
lived through, but she did not approve of the 
spirit of revolt, and always had considered it 
vulgar to kick against the rules of Society. Still, 
her opposition was not altogether sincere, and her 
displeasure did not arise at what her daughter 
said, but at the fact of her daughter saying it. 
Had Lionel, or any other, put forward these ideas, 
219 



The Storm of London 

she would have been the first to laugh, and to 
agree with what he said. 

" Forgive me, dearest mother, for saying these 
cruel things to you, but if you only knew 
how much I love, you could not blame me. 
Set me free, my own mother! After all, it 
is my life I am pleading for, and I am willing 
to take the responsibility of all that will 
follow." 

" This influence which has such an effect upon 
you all must be very powerful." Tears were 
slowly dropping from Lady Carey's eyes and 
trickling down her cheeks. "Can it be that I 
have never known you really, Eva ? How is it 
that for many years I have looked after you for 
I have not, like so many, been neglectful of my 
maternal duties and yet know no more to-day 
about your nature than I did on the day you 
were born ? For the last few years, since you were 
presented, we have lived the same life, seen the 
same people, and yet we were as much divided 
from each other as if you had been at the North 
Pole." 

" But, darling mother, I was far away from my 
true nature, so do not blame yourself alone ; you 
see, necessity made me think differently." 

" But then, necessity ought to have acted in the 

220 



The Storm of London 

same way upon me," replied Lady Carey. " Still, 
I cannot see as you do." 

" Because you are stiffening yourself against the 
inevitable ; you are not so blind as not to be able 
to see. Oh ! mother, if you knew how I love you, 
how I want you to be happy ! " 

" Child, you are all I have in the world, for, as I 
have said before, I have suffered. You have never 
known this, my child, for I hid it from everyone ; 
but all that you have just said has brought back 
to my mind past scenes which I had determined 
to forget for ever. My girlhood ! my marriage ! 
your words brought all back to me so distinctly. 
But what is it that makes you so happy, so keenly 
interested in all your surroundings ? I should like 
to know what it is, for I have not become an idiot, 
and I might yet learn." 

" Love, love has been the teacher ! Oh ! 
mother, I know you have always loved me, but 
you allowed worldly barriers to divide us. Let 
yourself go, do not be guided by your stubborn 
prejudices, and judge our present world from the 
standard of our past Society." 

" Ah ! my poor child, I know of no other 
standard but that of a well-bred woman of the 
world ; still, to show you that I have no silly 
prejudice, and that I can turn my mind to any- 
thing, I shall try to let myself go ; but mind you, 
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The Storm of London 

it will be only out of sheer ennui, not from any 
other motive. I shall enter into all your plans ; 
it will at least be something to do." 

Eva stood up and, taking both her mother's 
hands, lifted her from her chair ; the two women 
laughed joyously, and putting their arms round 
one another's necks, they left the room to go 
down to luncheon. 



222 



CHAPTER XV 

"WELL, my dear Gwen!" Mrs Archibald 
entered the library at Selby House, followed by 
the Earl of Somerville " I never thought I should 
live to see your husband act as his own foot- 
man ! " 

" Dear Alicia" Lady Somerville kissed the new- 
comer and led her to a marble lounge " why not 
be one's own footman ? We are our own police- 
men, and I do not believe the streets' safety has 
in any way suffered from it." 

" That's quite different, dear Gwen. Ah ! how 
do, Mrs Sinclair? I had not seen you. How 
shaded you keep your rooms ; it is quite delightful, 
and so cool, too." 

"Do you know, Mrs Archibald, that we are 
thinking of introducing an innovation in our 
households ? " This was Lord Somerville. " We 
are going to do away with locks, keys, and 
bolts." 

" My dear Lionel, what on earth are you 
saying?" exclaimed Mrs Archibald, raising her- 
223 



The Storm of London 

self suddenly on her couch. "What about 
these dreadful people who intrude, beg, or 
steal ? " 

" Let them go out again," replied Gwen merrily. 
" I do not think you could find any beggars or 
thieves at the present moment, for there is 
nothing to steal, but what we all should feel glad 
to give." 

" Wait for the final collapse," interrupted Mrs 
Archibald. " I am afraid you are living in a fool's 
paradise ; and for your sakes I dread the awaken- 
ing. In any case, I shall have warned you. 
What has pained me to the quick, has been Lady 
Carey's desertion. Mowbray told me that she 
had actually mounted the platform last week to 
propose some awful reform." 

" My mother took my place that day, as I was 
unable to attend the meeting," explained Eva 
Sinclair ; " but, although she did it to please me, 
she is not yet won over to our cause, and she 
grieves sadly over memories of the past." 

" Thank God ! I have neither kith nor kin to 
influence me. In a great crisis like this one feels 
thankful to be alone in the world." 

" Unloved and unloving," murmured Eva, as 
she looked up at Sinclair, who was leaning against 
the mantelpiece. 

" Here is Temple coming in with tea. He 
224 



The Storm of London 

is the only indoor servant we keep now," and 
Lionel instinctively came forward to help him to 
arrange the tea-table. Temple, instead of retir- 
ing, dallied with the cups and saucers. There 
was something in the valet's mind, but he did not 
know how to put it into words. 

" Now, Temple, there's something you want to 
say. What is it?" Gwen turned gracefully on 
to her side and poured out tea. 

" Yes, my lady ; and as you are so kind as to 
allow me, I shall speak. It's about the groom, 
Wiggles, my lord." 

" What about him ? " asked Lionel. " He cannot 
surely complain that he receives no wages ? We 
none of us get any wages nowadays." 

" Ah ! it isn't that, my lord. But the children 
have been ailing for years, and now that the 
factories in which the eldest ones worked are 
closed, they would like to go back to the country. 
But Wiggles doesn't want you to think he 
is complaining. He only wants a whiff of fresh 
air, and he asked me to beg your lordship's 
advice." 

" Good gracious ! there was a time when 
Wiggles would not have taken such trouble to 
give me notice." 

" It isn't that he wishes to give notice, 
my lord ; I don't know how to put it, nor does 
p 225 



The Storm of London 

Wiggles. He wants, I think, to see his old people 
before they die." 

" My poor Temple, Wiggles is like many others 
who have suddenly seen life as it is, and not as it 
had been made for him. We also are now able to 
see things as they are. We see that if Wiggles's 
rooms in his mews are too small and dingy for 
him and his family, our rooms here are too 
spacious for us. But very soon we shall make it 
all even." 

" I can't imagine how Lionel can be such a fool 
as to speak to his valet like that," whispered Mrs 
Archibald to Sinclair ; " they want a good squash- 
ing, these people." 

"Tell Wiggles to pack up ! ha ! ha! ha! 
I forgot he has nothing to pack up. Let 
him go back to his own village. Rural life is 
dying out, and we want to relieve the congestion 
of our capital, and bring life and happiness into 
the apathetic provinces. We must give back the 
land ! " 

" Will you give this cup to your master, 
Temple?" asked Gwen, handing the teacup to 
the valet with the grace with which she would 
have addressed a Peer of the Realm. 

" One moment," said Lionel, as Temple was 
preparing to leave the room. " I have often, since 
the storm, wanted to ask you how it was you were 
226 



The Storm of London 

so much more respectful than you used to be? 
I used to wish you frequently at the bottom of 
the sea, with your impertinent and supercilious 
manners. Why have you altered ? " 

" I am afraid, Mrs Archibald, you have come 
in at a wrong time, and your delicate feelings 
will be hurt," said Sinclair, bowing to the 
diaphanous vision of past smartness, to whom he 
handed a plate of sandwiches. 

" A la guerre comme a la guerre, my dear fellow ; 
I have made up my mind to the worst." 

" It would be easier to explain my past 
behaviour, my lord, than to account for my 
present manner. I have been for many years in 
your lordship's service, and I only now realise 
how little we understood each other." 

" Had you no proper respect for your masters ? 
This was Mrs Archibald, who between two mouth- 
fuls felt it her duty to bring the discussion 
down to a proper level. Temple hung his 
head, and twisted his ringers. One could 
hear the monotonous tick-tack of the empire 
clock. 

"Do not hesitate to say whatever you feel, 
Temple," remarked Gwen. 

"Well, if your lordship will allow me to say so, 
I think we all looked up to the aristocracy as 
an institution ; just as we honoured the Royal 
227 



The Storm of London 

Family and the House of Commons. But we did 
not think much of them as individuals, and felt 
irritable with our employers." 

" What a shocking word to use for your 
superiors? and Mrs Archibald raised her eyelids 
as she laid a stress on the last word. 

" Was I a worse master than any other ? " 
inquired Lionel. " Dear Mrs Archibald, you 
have nothing to eat," and he handed a plate of 
cakes to her. 

" I think you are making a fool of yourself 
Lionel," she remarked in a low tone. 

" Well, Temple, you do not answer my question. 
Forget that you are my valet, as I shall forget I 
am Lord Somerville. Let us stand man to man, 
after these long centuries of grievances and mis- 
understandings." 

" For the first time in my career of a valet, I 
feel that I can speak to you as a man ; but I 
cannot explain why it is." 

" It must be that we have no clothes, Temple," 
cheerfully said Sinclair, who had moved away 
from the window and stood leaning on the back 
of Eva's couch. 

" Yes, one man's as good as another," remarked 
Lionel. "But do you not think that you all 
envied us very much ; for you certainly aped all 

our ways ? " 

228 



The Storm of London 

" I don't know about our envying you, my lord. 
I daresay we longed for some of your comforts, 
and envied the facility with which you smoothed 
down your existence, by packing yourselves off 
abroad whenever you were weary of your amuse- 
ments at home. But I do not believe we ever 
wanted to change our characters for yours. We 
could not make you out. That is the truth about 
it. I am sure I ought not to talk so free before the 
ladies." 

" Go on, Temple," softly said Gwen. " I want 
to know everything that has stood between you 
and us for so long." 

" It is not that we felt no sympathy for you in 
your grief. Oh, dear! no. When a Duke loses 
the wife he loves, or a lady the child she adores, 
it goes straight to a man's heart, whoever that 
man is. But it was in your funny kinds of worries 
that we were -at sea. It seemed so childish to 
worry about trifles. I remember your lordship's 
mother ; I never saw anyone put out for nothing 
as she was. The lady's maid once told me that 
her ladyship had not slept for two nights because 
one course at dinner had been spoiled. We all 
laughed very much about that in the servants' 
hall. If such a thing had happened to any of us 
in our homes, we should have taken it jokily, and 
told our friends that we couldn't help the roast 
229 



The Storm of London 

mutton being underdone, or the pudding being 
burnt. Very likely we should have ended by 
telling them, that if they only came for what 
they could get out of us, they had better stay at 
home." 

" Had we had the courage to live according to 
simpler rules, we should have been saved the 
innumerable pin-pricks which made our social 
existences so irksome, and for which we received 
no sympathy." Gwendolen looked at Temple as 
if she had discovered the reason of all past 
dissensions. 

" We always thought," resumed the valet, " that 
the upper classes worried themselves about 
nothing; and we naturally concluded that, in 
their way of seeing life and of feeling imaginary 
sorrows, lay the difference between them and us." A 
fly was beating its tiny body against a window-pane. 
" I remember my father telling me how he once 
lay, badly wounded, in the Crimean War. On the 
ground, close to him, lay Captain Willesmere, 
severely injured in the groin. My father said he 
never should forget the moment when the young 
captain turned towards him, writhing under his 
pain, and offered him the last drops of brandy in 
his flask. The exertion had no doubt been too 
much for the young man, for he fell back in a 
swoon. That drop of spirits saved my father's 
23 



The Storm of London 

life, my lord, and he often told me that at that 
time he felt there was no social distance between 
himself and the Earl's son." 

" I do hope the gallant Captain soon recovered," 
eagerly remarked Mrs Archibald. "Just what a 
gentleman would do; but I am afraid the lower 
class is not worth such sacrifice." 

"The next time they met," went on Temple, 

"it was in the hall of Gloucester House; many 

years after. My father was footman, and 

Captain Willesmere had become the Earl of 

Dunraven. The crowd was great, and my father, 

who had only just recovered from a severe illness, 

was suddenly overcome by the heat, and as he 

helped the Earl with his coat, fell all of a heap on 

his shoulder. The latter, furious at being thus 

familiarly handled, pushed my father forward, who 

fell on his back and heard the nobleman say, 

' Damn you, rascal, are you drunk ? can't you see 

who I am ? ' When as a result, my father had to 

seek another situation, he could not but reflect 

with bitterness upon the disparity which exists 

between classes ; although he wondered what 

difference there was between a trooper who lay 

wounded on the ground for his country, and a 

footman who felt suddenly ill whilst fulfilling his 

duties in his master's house." 

" I suppose great emergencies such as wars and 
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The Storm of London 

earthquakes bring out the best in man, and make 
him forget the artificial barriers between his fellow- 
creatures and himself," said Lionel. 

" Of course, my lord, I know that domestics are 
looked down upon. I know also that they are 
often cunning, inquisitive, more or less lazy, 
curious as to their master's correspondence, and 
fonder still of their master's cigars." 

" I see, Temple, that you are not over partial to 
your own class," broke in Sinclair. 

" I cannot help thinking of these things now, 
sir, but after all, the defects that we have, are, in a 
sort of way, initiated by you. We loved gambling, 
betting, drinking, and lolling about ; and as far as 
passions go, I daresay we have the same amount 
of animal spirits as a Duke or even a Royal Prince, 
with this difference that in your upper circles your 
lives are never blighted, whatever you may do; 
and your friends do not cut you for such mis- 
demeanours as drinking too heavily or betting too 
recklessly. I fail to see why our private lives 
should be sifted through and through before we 
can have the privilege of handing your dishes 
round at table or of sitting in silence in your halls, 
whilst some members of the peerage are allowed 
to make laws for their country, although they, each 
day, are breaking God's laws and Society's 
rules." 

232 



The Storm of London 

" I quite agree with you, my good fellow," 
suddenly remarked Lionel, " and this is the reason 
why we have given up pulling the wires of Govern- 
ment." 

"We respect you the more for it, my lord." 

" Now, Temple ? " And Gwen leaned her 
graceful form over the carved arm of her couch ; 
her whole attitude was one of apology for the 
harm she had unconsciously committed in her 
past state. " Let me know my grievous wrongs. 
Do not spare me." 

" My poor Gwen," exclaimed Mrs Archibald, 
hiding her face in her hands. " What has become 
of your feminine modesty ? " 

" Let him speak, Alicia ; true feminine delicacy 
is not hurt by the knowledge of injustice. Temple 
go on." 

" Well, my lady, I have heard strange things in 
my time. The first thing I learned in my career 
was that there was one law of hygiene for ladies 
and another for servants. I once heard a lady 
say that to keep well one ought to go out at least 
twice a day. But the same lady would have con- 
sidered her butler or her housemaid impudent and 
unreasonable, had they asked to go out once a 
day. The same thing is true as regards stimulants. 
I have known many ladies, young and old, who 
said they had to have hock at lunch, port at 
233 



The Storm of London 

dinner; their doctors prescribed it, and they 
believed it to be indispensable to their general 
health. But, had the footman or kitchen-maid 
said they must have claret at lunch, Moselle at 
supper; or had the housemaid hinted that a glass 
of sherry would be acceptable after turning out a 
room, I declare their mistress would have put 
them down as confirmed drunkards, and would 
have warned her friends against any servant 
who asked for beer money. I beg pardon, my 
lord, but are you sure you do not mind my plain 
speaking?" 

" No, my good man, we want to hear the truth, 
for we never heard you tell us anything but fibs 
before." 

" You are very funny, my lord, but you have hit 
it right. Yes, we told fibs, big lies even. But 
telling the truth never paid. This was the first 
commandment of the servants' catechism. In our 
very first situation we became familiar with a 
system of deceit. Still, you know yourselves how 
particular you were about servants always speak- 
ing the truth ! I often wondered how the upper 
classes would have behaved had they been in our 
places? I don't think they would have done very 
differently under the circumstances. We have all 
the same perception of injustice, we all feel its 
sting, and as kicking against it does not help us, 
234 



The Storm of London 

compromise is the only course left us. Do you 
not compromise more or less with your conscience, 
when your god, Society, sets out rules that are too 
stringent? We are all men, my lord, although 
the Duchess of Southdown thought the contrary. 
I heard her say one day that she would 
have preferred a man for a lady's maid, as 
they were more punctual and less talkative; 
and as to the sex, that did not matter ' a 
servant was not a man ! ' You can't think 
what a funny impression it makes on one to hear 
such things." 

" Then you do not believe, Temple, that masters 
ever could have inspired loyalty in their servants ? " 
inquired Sinclair. 

" I must ask you, sir, whether there ever existed 
true loyalty on the part of the master to his 
servants ? I have rarely seen it. The distance 
between the classes was too great, and the gulf 
grew daily wider and deeper when you convinced 
yourselves that you were in every way different 
from 'those kind of people.' The worst of it 
was, that by dint of widening the gulf between 
us, we naturally became strangers to each other. 
Our personal griefs and joys you ignored ; 
you did not want to be bothered with our 
worries. We were salaried to be outwardly 
devoted and sympathetic, to minister to your 
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The Storm of London 

wants, rejoice in your successes, condole in your 
misfortunes, whilst our own hearts ached from 
private sorrows." 

"How you must have despised us!" said 
Lionel. 

" What an accumulation of vindictiveness must 
have filled your hearts 'for those who used you 
so ! " echoed Gwen. 

"No, my lady, that is not quite true. I have 
seen more envy and hatred amongst the upper 
class than amongst ourselves. We accepted the 
injustice of our social condition, and we got out of 
you all we could on the sly. We made fun of you, 
and often put you down as not quite so wise as 
you gave yourselves out to be. The last kitchen- 
maid of the Duchess of Southdown was very comical 
on that point. Whenever she heard the servants 
relating some new freak of her grace, or some 
funny incident that had happened in the draw- 
ing-room, she would invariably say, whilst she 
washed the dishes, 'Leave them alone, they 
can't 'elp it, they know no better.' We ended 
by believing the girl had hit on the real cause 
of the aristocracy's behaviour, and that their 
caprices and vagaries could only be put down to 
ignorance." 

" And you were right," suddenly remarked Eva, 
" we wilfully ignored the fact that you had to start 
236 



The Storm of London 

life from a different point from our own, and we 
were horrified at you not meeting us on our level. 
We accused you of inferiority and ignorance, but 
we never thought of blaming the conditions into 
which we had put you." 

"Ah! ma'am!" continued Temple, "I have 
heard terrible things said in the refined homes of 
the gentry ; and in my presence, ladies have 
uttered 'orrible sentences. For instance about the 
war. I don't myself understand politics, and I 
can't tell if our Government was right or wrong ; 
but there are the women, the children, the ruined 
home, and to my mind it did not seem quite 
right. I heard many ladies who came to have tea 
with your lordship dismiss the whole question 
with a wave of the hand : ' It could not be helped ; 
war would always be necessary.' One lady 
actually said that she loved war surely that lady 
had never seen a battlefield. Another one 
remarked that ' People who were not in favour of 
the war were not patriotic, and ought to be sent 
out of the country. 5 You all drank your whisky 
and champagne in honour of England's greater 
glory and prosperity ; and we thought it a queer 
world in which glory had to be paid for so dearly, 
and prosperity acquired at the cost of precious 
lives." 

"Ah! but, you see, Temple, you were not a 
23? 



The Storm of London 

Colonial Secretary, nor were you a financier," 
said Ronald Sinclair. 

" Anyhow, I never heard a lady express herself 
as a true woman about any kind of misfortune. 
As a footman I used to serve cups of tea at 
entertainments organised for charitable purposes, 
and heard there some rum remarks. One lady 
said in reply to another who was relating to her 
some pitiful story of misery, * Well, you see, 
dear Lady So-and-So, these people are more or 
less accustomed to privations.' And I heard 
another lady say that misery was relative : a 
millionaire reduced to a paltry income of ^3000 
a year suffered more actual privations than a 
poor man who could not afford meat once a 
week. I thought of old Bill Tooley's widow 
who was found dead from starvation last winter. 
There was no question of relative misery in her 
case, for one can't do more than die. Can one, 
my lord ? " 

" We have lived long enough under the delusion 
of our superiority over you. We must once for all 
face the truth and have the courage to say that it was 
only owing to the unfairness in the game of life 
that we won the trumpery race. We were given 
points at our birth, and later, as we entered 
Sandhurst or the Universities, points were granted 
us to enable us to advance quicker towards the 
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The Storm of London 

winning-post. But these advantages which gave 
us our social distinctions, were as many rungs cut 
off from the ladder, rendering the ascent laborious 
to others, and the top unreachable. Life is the 
arena in which all men have to run the race in 
their skins." 

" This is beyond me, my lord," humbly said the 
valet. " Only educated people, such as you, can 
discuss these topics. I 'ave spoken what I felt ; 
if I have made you understand a little more about 
what we were, so much the better ; but I am 
an ignorant man, and you must excuse my 
speech." 

11 My good man, ignorance is easily remedied ; 
besides, we have a great deal to learn, perhaps 
more than you have, for we set ourselves up as 
your teachers, although we knew little either of 
you or of ourselves. But how is it that you 
should think that education causes a man's 
superiority, when you used to believe that wealth 
constituted supremacy ? " 

"Well, my lord, it was the only difference we 
could see between the upper classes and the 
lower ones. But I seem now to judge things from 
another point of view ; it must be owing to our 
having no livery, and to your lordship's appearing 
to me as God made you. We do not envy 
beauty, for we know that it is not made in 
239 



The Storm of London 

factories at the expense of children's health and 
youth." 

" The vanishing of clothes has done more for 
human equality than all the philanthropists' 
efforts, or the anarchists' steel blade," remarked 
Sinclair. 

" Now, Temple," said Lord Somerville, " you 
must go with Wiggles, and taste some of your 
native air. I no more need your services, and 
you can tell the other servants that they can 
return to their houses. Our daily life is very 
much simplified." 

" Yes, my lord I know fresh air is necessary to 
our lungs, but I have an idea which I should like 
to communicate to the Committee of Reforms." 

" Bravo, Temple ! Have as many ideas as ever 
you can lodge in your head. We are putting 
high premiums on ideas." 

" There," anxiously murmured Mrs Archibald, 
" I told you that would come. We shall be 
ridden over by that multitude of unemployed. 
Oh! Lionel, what are you doing?" And the 
poor, diaphanous lady closed her eyes in agony at 
the social chaos she mentally contemplated. 

" My dear madam," replied Lionel, " Danford 
is right when he says that our race can achieve 
the wildest Utopia, if only they can first see the 
practical working of it." 

240 



The Storm of London 

Temple now left the room, carrying the tea- 
tray away with him. 

" Do you not, Eva dear, feel bitter remorse for 
all the harm we have unconsciously inflicted ? " 
inquired Gwen, taking her friend's hand within 
hers. 

" For my part," broke in Mrs Archibald, " I 
have never felt so ashamed, as when that horrid 
man described us as he sees us. I did not know 
what to do with myself, where to hide myself. I must 
confess that creature has made me feel conscious, 
and I felt hot waves burning me from head to 
toe." Mrs Archibald pressed her hands over her 
forehead, whilst her breast heaved short, con- 
vulsive sobs. 

" So did Adam and Eve blush when the 
Almighty made them feel conscious of their sin," 
said Sinclair, as he leaned over the lounge of the 
poor, stricken-down woman. " Do not worry, Mrs 
Archibald ; a blush at the right moment is a 
healthy feeling, and the shame which filled your 
being, at the description of your past, is the proof 
that the mirror faithfully gave you back your own 
image." 

" It's all very well for you to speak you have 

your lives fixed up, and I do not see much merit 

in your taking things jauntily, when you have 

chosen charming companions to help you. Look 

Q 241 



The Storm of London 

at me, all alone in this stupid, uninteresting world. 
What am I to do ? " and the sobs became louder. 
" Even Lady Carey has deserted our side. The 
ship is sinking, and the waves are rushing over 



242 



CHAPTER XVI 

" I SAY, Danford, it is far more dignified to go 
about as we do ; there is no shamming any more," 
said Sinclair, as he linked his arm in that of Lionel. 
The three men were coming down Bond Street. 
" No one stops me to make irrelevant remarks on 
my matrimonial affairs." His spirits were buoyant, 
he felt himself master of the world, not merely 
the master over men; neither did he enjoy that 
spurious sense of independence which made him 
formerly, as a man of fashion, order his pleasures 
at such an hour, his carriage at another ; but he 
felt that noble freedom which emancipated him 
from trifling bonds and conventional statutes. 

" When you taught John Bull that happiness can 
exist without church fees and Society's sanction, 
and that sorrow is really ennobled by. the absence 
of funeral plumes and crocodile tears, you taught him 
an everlasting lesson," answered the little buffoon. 

" Don't you think," suddenly exclaimed Lionel, 
" that the streets are looking more rational than 
they used to ? " They were crossing Piccadilly. 
243 



The Storm of London 

" See how these long arcades protect the 
pedestrians in bad weather ; and notice the 
spacious galleries opened out under the houses 
where the shops used to be." 

" Yes, my lord, shopland is no more. We owe 
that improvement to your valet." 

" His plan turned out a real success," said 
Lionel, " and the fellow is as active in his present 
work of reform as he was lazy in his past 
career." 

" Idleness has disappeared with the injustice 
which separated classes ; the meanest urchin 
knows that there is a premium applied to brains, 
and that premium is universal happiness." 

"Now that we all work," said Lionel, "you 
would not find a man or a woman who would not 
willingly help in the construction of machinery to 
liberate mankind from slavery. Look at these 
galleries running under the arcades ; in each arch 
there is a large board with electric bells which 
communicate with edifices outside London, where 
all the necessaries of life are fabricated. Each 
house has one of these boards, and thus meals 
for invalids, the sweeping and washing up of 
rooms, in fact, all the necessaries of life can be 
obtained by merely pressing one of these electric 
bells." 

" Likewise the dining-halls," said Danford, 
244 



The Storm of London 

" have been considerably improved and simplified ; 
cooking by electricity has given back freedom to 
thousands of cooks and scullion-maids. Instead 
of personal attendance, there are trays placed on 
electric trollies running along in the middle of the 
dinner-tables, which stop at each guest, and 
which can be started again on their course by 
touching a small bell. What a transformation the 
City has undergone, to be sure. We all put our 
shoulders to the wheel ; at stated hours we work 
for the welfare of all, and the labour seems light, 
for it is divided, and the aim is universal content- 
ment. No task is beneath us ; no employment is 
too trivial, were it even to fix a screw in the axle 
of a small wheel, providing that wheel leads us 
swiftly to the goal." 

" The wrong labour," broke in Lionel, " was 
that which toiled for the luxuries of a few to the 
detriment of the many ; but the labour under- 
taken by all, for the greatest happiness of 
all, is as exhilarating as the early morning's 
breeze." 

" You would never know the people you elbow 
now from those with whom you used to associate," 
said Danford. " Could you recall in the man just 
coming out of the ex-Atheneum Club the former 
frequenter of the past race-course ? " 

" Ah ! that's the Duke of Norbury," answered 
245 



The Storm of London 

Sinclair. " The fellow looks altogether normal. 
Certainly he is not so common in his plain skin." 

c< That is because his sporting grace has lost the 
label which directed him to Newmarket," answered 
Dan. 

They had reached Trafalgar Square, and very soon 
faced Parliament Street. Suddenly the little buffoon 
halted and, bursting out laughing, exclaimed, 

" By Jove ! are you aware that this day is the 
24th of June ? the day on which the Coronation 
was to be held ? " The three men paused ; they 
looked round in wonderment. Birds were singing 
merrily as they hopped on the Landseer lions, 
the soft breeze wrinkled the surface of the water 
in which lads and lassies were ducking, and splash- 
ing each other in merry laughter. 

" Do you not hear, in your mind's ear," sententi- 
ously spoke Danford, " the distant rumble of drums 
and metallic strains of military bands ? Does not 
your mind's eye perceive in the distance the glitter- 
ing of swords in the sunshine, and the variegated 
uniforms of Colonial and Indian armies? Slowly 
comes the procession up Parliament Street, 
furrowing its way through an ebbing and flowing 
wave of humanity. The great of the land are all 
there, labelled with their uniforms. There, look, 
comes a gilded coach. In that coach I can see 
two figures, systematically bowing on either side 
246 



The Storm of London 

of the carriage. What is the meaning of these two 
figures got up like dolls for the occasion ? " 

" My poor Dan, there is no meaning in them. 
They are the symbol of past inconsistency," 
replied Sinclair. 

" How was it," asked Lionel, " that with all that 
science was doing for the progress of the modern 
world, and with all that art was creating to make 
life beautiful, how was it we never came any 
nearer to happiness ? " 

" My dear Lionel," answered Sinclair, " because 
we wanted to reconcile our modern world with the 
old one. Steering our way back into the past 
against the current which carried us on to the 
future was hard work, very often a perilous 
expedition ; we travestied barbarous passions 
with new garments, to make them more present- 
able to our modern world ; and the thirst for con- 
quest and wealth was disguised under the mask 
of political philanthropy. Vice had its fur-lined 
overcoat ; ruthless money-diggers and empire- 
makers stalked through the town as modern 
Aladdins ; sometimes even, they raised their own 
eyes to the exalted position of God's A.D.C. 
Prostitution left street corners to mount the 
marble steps of palaces, where the hand of the 
clergy helped it to enter the precincts of social 
Paradise" 

24? 



The Storm of London 

" Listen, my lord," interrupted Danford. " Do 
you hear the tramping of horses' hoofs? Con- 
quering heroes, whose glory is written on the sands 
of life, are coming." 

" Posterity with her broom and shovel will clear 
away the dust of their rubbish," said Lionel. " It 
will collect in its dust-pan some strange manifesta- 
tions : Caesar, Napoleon, Marlborough " 

"Leave out the more recent names," broke in 
Sinclair ; " they are too near to us." 

" You are right," said Lionel. " Still, posterity, 
in her impartial summing up, will be more lenient 
towards those whose crimes were the results of 
unpolished ignorance, than towards those whose 
lust was cleverly screened by Pharisaism. It will 
not be hard on Edward III. and Philippe le Bel 
for haggling over France like two butcher's dogs 
over a bone; but I am afraid it will judge 
unmercifully our modern civilisations which mas- 
queraded and played parts unsuited to them. 
Has the Hundred Years' War given the supremacy 
to either France or England ? What has the 
Inquisition and the Spanish ascendency over 
the Dutch Republic done for Spain's pros- 
perity ? " 

" And what would the annexation of the South 
African Provinces have done for England's 
glory, had not the storm put a sudden stop to 
248 



The Storm of London 

this country's hysterical fits?" inquired Dan- 
ford. 

" Our old world has gone through a good deal of 
alteration," remarked Sinclair. " Maps have always 
impressed me as the saddest annals of history. As 
a boy, I used to turn the pages of atlas books 
with the keenest interest ; they spoke to me of 
human struggles, of longings and morbid regrets." 

" Yes," added Danford, " maps are the medical 
charts of the intermittent fevers from which 
countries suffer." 

" Thank God for the blessings His water-spout 
has conferred on us ! " burst out Lionel. " I 
shudder when I think that we might, on this very 
day, have witnessed this fantastic pageantry. 
The opium-eater, in his weirdest delirium, could 
not have pictured a more uncanny parade, than 
the one we should have beheld at the dawn of 
the twentieth century : London a huge pawn- 
broker's shop turning out into the streets all its 
pandemonium ! the properties of our modern 
world thrown together, higgledy-piggledy, with 
the paraphernalia of a Cinderella pantomime ! 
The incongruous was then the order of the day, 
and our brains, before the storm, were the 
receptacles of untidy ideas." 

" My lord, do you hear in the distance the bells 
of St Paul's ringing their peals ? " 
249 



The Storm of London 

" Yes, they are ringing for the sacred union of 
clericalism with worldly wisdom." 

" How could we reconcile the symbolic ceremony 
of a crowned monarch with the limitations of our 
constitution?" asked Danford. "How was it 
possible to adapt obsolete palliaments to the 
democratic innovation of the coat and skirt ? For I 
think we may truly call this revolution in feminine 
dress the 1789 of Histology." 

" You are right, my dear Dan, but I want to 
know what our epoch was aiming at?" asked 
Sinclair, sitting down on one of the steps. " Was 
it playing a practical joke on democracy, or was 
it acting a monarchical burlesque ? What had our 
fashionable metropolis to do with the customs of 
a London which began at the Strand, and whose 
centre was the Tower? Doubtless, the auditory 
faculty of a Plantagenet would have suffered from 
the bustling London of Edward VII., and the 
clamouring noise of a railway station would have 
certainly upset the nerves of even that blood- 
thirsty Richard III." 

" The fact is, my dear fellow," said Lionel, who 
sat down near Sinclair, " we had, before the storm, 
arrived at the cross-roads, and had to choose which 
turning we should take. Were we to go straight 
ahead, regardless of past traditions, on a motor 
car; or should we have chosen a shady road and 
250 



The Storm of London 

ambled back to Canterbury on a Chaucerian cob, 
escorting that gentle dame yclept " Madam 
Eglantine"? The twentieth century was the 
sphinx confronting us. Were we going to meet 
it with an old adage, or were we at last to be 
QEdipus and solve the question ? " 

" As long as we dragged at our heels the worth- 
less baggage of the past, we could not proceed on 
our road." Danford stood in front of the two 
men. " We went to our political business in fairy 
coaches, and could not make out why we arrived 
too late for Parliamentary tit-bits. We were play- 
ing the fool on the brink of a precipice, and spent 
our time and energy in staging a sort of ' Alice in 
Wonderland ' in a graveyard. It was as tragic as it 
was flippant, and if posterity will laugh at our in- 
consistency, how much more must Medievalism 
grin at our lack of adaptability. I should like to 
know what King Alfred or Queen Bess have to 
say about us ? " 

" Poor Alfred," sighed Lionel, " I feel for him, 
for he must be mortified at having given the first 
impulse to English language to produce Marian 
Crivelli!" 

" Ha ! ha ! ha ! As to dear old Bess," remarked 

Sinclair ; "with all her cunning, and the improbity 

of her politics, she was essentially modern of her 

times modernity, naturally, for of course, Con- 

251 



The Storm of London 

servatism and Radicalism are relative. Had she 
seen the development of science ; had she crossed 
the Channel in one hour, and the Atlantic in a 
week : and had she been able to send a wireless 
message to a distant continent, she would have 
jumped with delight! she would have twigged 
in an instant that the curtain had dropped upon 
the old world, and she would have advised her 
successor to throw unscrupulously overboard, 
crown, sceptre, regal goods and chattels in fact, 
all royal overweight to save the crew ! " 

" That reminds me," suddenly said Lionel, " that 
I had a telephonic causerie this morning with 
Victor de Laumel, in Paris. He said that at the 
clubs everyone was discussing the latest. The 
Sovereigns of Europe are going to meet in con- 
gress at the Hague to confabulate on what they 
had better do in face of this strange event in 
England." 

" When the Sovereigns themselves are aware of 
the inconsistency of their condition, and the 
futility of their prerogatives, then their eyes will 
be open as to what their future conduct has to 
be." 

"That is just what Victor says. They are as 

excited about this congress, in Paris, as they were 

about Fashoda and Dreyfus, and, naturally, they 

blame us for it ; all the smart clubs are dead 

252 



The Storm of London 

nuts against England for playing into the hands of 
Jove." 

" Oh ! that does not astonish me in the least," 
said Danford. "But about this congress, Lord 
Somerville, I think we have already taught the 
world a lesson, and that sooner than I ever ex- 
pected. At this rate the storm of London will 
rank as the greatest event in the history of 
nations. If you look at history impartially, you 
will find that every reform carried in its breast the 
seed of another excess. A wrong was abolished, 
by what, at the time, appeared a right principle, 
until another standpoint was reached, which 
showed us the wrong side of the right principle." 

" If this strange condition of ours," broke in 
Sinclair, " does, after all, lead to the reform of the 
governing classes from within, then, indeed, it was 
worth losing one's shirt ! " And the three men 
laughed heartily. 

"Look round, my lord," and Danford pointed 
to the National Gallery. " You have given the first 
impetus to true art." 

" No, no, Danford," interrupted Lionel. " It 
was the public who gave me the hint." 

" Never mind, my lord, the thing is done, and 

you have awakened the consciousness of our 

English artists. Look down Parliament Street, 

where your mind's eye saw, a minute ago, the 

253 



The Storm of London 

pantomime of Government; you can see our 
ancient seat of Parliament transformed into the 
sanctuary of technical education. The old lobbies 
are swarming with efficient teachers. Public 
education, as it was to be found in our old haunts 
of Eton, Rugby, etc., etc., was the proper training 
for privileged classes ; but the present education, 
which is not compulsory, is the training of the 
child and adult without social barriers ; and the 
only religious dogma which he must live up to 
is this: that the welfare of all is the welfare of 
each." 

" And yet," sadly remarked Sinclair, " science is 
still but empiric, as it has not yet revealed to us 
the mystery of the human heart; that remains 
a sealed letter. Some writer has named that 
mysterious recess of individuality, ' the hidden 
garden ' ; but how ignorant we still are of its 
vegetation. Do we know what causes, in that 
hidden garden of the soul, a lovely rose to grow 
where the soil was barren ; or a toadstool to 
sprout where the seed of a robust plant had been 
sown ? " 

"No, we know no more of each other's inner 
souls than the early Britons knew of steam and 
electricity," said Lionel. "As long as we have 
not reached complete consciousness we shall never 
triumph over the inconsistencies which place men 
254 



The Storm of London 

on different platforms, and spur them on to fight 
unfair battles." 

" Ah, my lord, you have a receptive mind, and I 
knew, from the beginning, that the day would 
come when you would open your eyes to the gulf 
which separates man from man. Yesterday morn- 
ing the Committee of Music Hall Artists intro- 
duced at our meeting a queer sort of man, who 
struck me as visionary in his ideas, and matter-of- 
fact in the carrying out of his plans." 

" Surely, Dan, he was an American," remarked 
Sinclair, " for the gift of bottling the ocean, or of 
cramming into a nutshell all the contradictory 
philosophical theories, belongs to that race which 
unites the creative power of a Jupiter to the 
jugglery of a mountebank." 

" What that man, be he god or charlatan, 
suggests is too grave to be spoken of lightly or 
to be taken up in a minute," continued Danford, 
" and I implore your lordship not to jump too 
quickly at a conclusion. But, to come to facts, 
this man avers that he has discovered the means 
of reading human thoughts and secret motives 
just as clearly as one sees the hidden structure of 
a body by means of the X-rays. He says that we 
have, owing to our normal hygiene and purity of 
life, arrived at the time when this invention will 
be necessary to bring perfect happiness to human 
255 



The Storm of London 

beings ; and that our past weeks of paradisaical 
existence have changed John Bull and made him 
thirst for a complete knowledge of his fellow- 
creatures. This is a serious matter, gentlemen, 
and, for God's sake, do not let us wreck the future 
bliss of the world through our incautiousness. 
You have done much for John Bull, my lord, but 
you have done it chiefly by being tactful with him, 
and by not ruffling his susceptibilities. After all, 
man is a strange being : he clings to the prejudices 
which makes his life a living purgatory ; and you 
must first see John Bull develop a craving to 
investigate the 'hidden garden' before the final re- 
form of man by man can be effected from within." 

"Let us curb our enthusiasm for the sake of 
John Bull," buoyantly exclaimed Lionel, " and let 
us turn back, Danford. It is getting late, and I 
have to be at the old War Office to meet ex-Field- 
Marshal Burlow, to discuss with him what is to be 
done with the old offices." 

" My lord ! " and Danford put his hand on 
Lionel's shoulder, " an idea has just struck me ! 
You can do a good turn to the American Seer, by 
giving over to him the War Office for his scientific 
experiments. What could be more fitted to the 
science which is devoted to the extension of sym- 
pathy, than the dwelling in which was planned 
the extermination of races ? " 
256 



The Storm of London 

" My dear man, the Seer shall have the old 
rookery, if I have a voice in the matter, although 
I fear the shadows of past victims and the re- 
membrance of foregone civilised warfare will lurk 
at every corner, and interfere with his humanising 
studies." 

" Quite the contrary," said Sinclair. " The Seer, 
if he is what we think, is sure to be stimulated by 
the ghosts of barbaric civilisations, and his sense 
of humour will make him chuckle at the irony of 
fate, which selected him to metamorphose Janus's 
eyrie into a temple of love and peace." 



257 



CHAPTER XVII 

THE day came at last when the Bishop of Sun- 
bury was to deliver his address on the future of 
religion. 

St Paul's had been considered too small to 
contain the large assemblage of worshippers who 
were anxious to hear the prelate, and it had there- 
fore been arranged for him to speak to the crowd 
from the steps of the Cathedral. Churchmen were 
not the only ones interested in the long-promised 
message, but the world at large was eager to 
learn what the ex-dignitary would tell them con- 
cerning the great riddle: What makes a Bishop 
a Bishop ? 

It was one of these particularly English summer 
days, towards the middle of July, in which the sun 
declined to appear in person. But the atmosphere 
was none the less festive because the sun played 
truant ; and to most Londoners the weather was 
a symbol of true modesty. Mayfair, Belgravia, 
Kensington in fact, every district of the metro- 
polis was represented in the crowd that thronged 
258 



The Storm of London 

the Cathedral square. Those who preferred to 
remain at home or were too unwell to attend the 
meeting, would be kept au courant through the 
telephones ; for it is only fair to say that the 
School of Accuracy in the Delivery of News 
had completely metamorphosed the temperaments 
of citizens, who, since the collapse of newspapers, 
were genuinely struck by the dramatic power of 
a plain fact. 

The crowd was large, but it did not at any time 
become rowdy. The charioteers drove up Fleet 
Street in two lines and placed themselves all round 
St Paul's ; while the pedestrian stolled leisurely 
under the wide arcades. The recalcitrants, who 
were now a very small minority, had prophesied a 
dismal denouement to this meeting, and in order 
to be safely out of danger, had secured their places 
at an early date, in the dining-halls of the former 
shops. They reached their seats at an unearthly 
hour, although the homily was announced for the 
afternoon ; but the recalcitrants remembered what 
they had suffered at the Diamond Jubilee in 
getting to their places, and nothing on earth could 
convince them that it would not be just the same 
for the Bishop's address. So, there they were, from 
five o'clock in the morning, making themselves as 
comfortable as possible ; first ringing for their 
breakfast, then later on telephoning for luncheon. 
259 



The Storm of London 

Shortly before the time announced for the address, 
a party of friends might be seen in one of the 
large shop windows enjoying their afternoon tea. 
Seated in front was Mrs Archibald, with Lord 
Mowbray behind her; these two held closely to 
one another, and kept up the old traditions of bon 
ton, for they firmly believed that Society was rushing 
to its ruin. Eva Sinclair, good-naturedly had given 
up joining her husband in the crowd, so as to 
accompany poor Alicia Archibald, who declared 
that she could never think of seeing the show 
without one of her set. Next to these two sat 
Lady Carey, who, although she had assented to all 
the modern reforms, had drawn the line at such a 
public reunion as this one. She had begged Gwen 
to escort her, as she could not bring herself to stay 
away and follow the development of the meeting 
through her telephone. Montagu Vane was lean- 
ing on the back of her chair, while Gwen and 
Nettie Collins made themselves useful at the 
buffet. 

On the other side of the churchyard was Mrs 
Pottinger, with a good many of the American 
colony. They had absolutely declined Mrs 
Archibald's invitation to join her at the windows 
of the dining-halls, preferring to mix with the 
crowd under the arcades. Beside her stood her 
Royal Guide, although she might by this time have 
260 



The Storm of London 

very well dispensed with his services, but she kept 
him for Auld Lang Syne, and for all the fun she 
had formerly derived from the Royal Family ; and 
perhaps also because she thought it would do him 
good, for she was not an ungrateful woman. 

" I see that the American colony has at last 
emerged from its voluntary seclusion," said Lionel 
to Danford, as they drove up and took their 
position close to the steps. 

" Yes, my lord, they retired to learn the art of 
observation, and have achieved the task they set 
themselves to. Not only do they now recognise 
the people they knew, but they have actually 
acquired the faculty of putting names on to the 
faces they did not know." 

" I am struck by the attitude of the American 
women. They move with the same grace and 
ease as when Doucet and Paquin turned them out 
into the social market." 

" You are right, my lord, they have made nature 
herself quite elegant, and are teaching dowdy 
mother Eve a lesson in deportment." 

" There is a downrightness in their demeanour 
which always upsets my equanimity," said Lionel, 
laughing. 

" The American is a mathematical animal, my 
lord ; and could a geometrical figure walk, it would 
impersonate the tournure of a Yankee." 
261 



The Storm of London 

" Is that the Bishop coming out of the central 
porch ? " 

" Yes, my lord, and Jack Roller is beside him," 
replied Danford. " They are followed by repre- 
sentatives of all churches, who will group them- 
selves round the prelate." 

" The coup cFceills harmonious," remarked Lionel ; 
"it puts me in mind of Raphael's School of Athens. 
Do you see on the right hand of the Bishop a 
group of thin, pale men, their arms linked in one 
another's ? I have no doubt those are Vicars and 
Curates. And notice on the left that cluster of 
older men leaning in an attitude of keen attention, 
shielding their ears with their hands, so as not to 
lose a syllable of the address." 

" My lord, these are the Canons, Deans and 
Bishops. But watch that surging crowd on the 
steps in front of the Bishop. Some, lying down 
dejectedly, are supporting their hirsute faces with 
their right hands ; others, seated with their knees 
up to their chins, look stubbornly in front of 
them. They are the Nonconformists, eager to 
know what this Church dignitary has to say to 
them." 

" And what about those urbane men leaning 
modestly against the doors of the Cathedral ? " 
inquired Lionel. 

" Ah ! those must be the Romanists, my lord. 
262 



The Storm of London 

Their attitude is humble though firm ; they stand 
aloof in mute reverence, but will nevertheless be 
able to hear what the Bishop says, from the place 
they have chosen. No one knows, not even Jack 
Roller, what the Church has to say in this matter, 
and the prelate will have to solve his own problem 
by himself." 

A sonorous " Hush " stopped all conversations, 
but at first it was impossible to hear one word, 
the prelate's voice being too feeble for the open 
air. 

" Louder, my lord," spoke the guide in a stage 
whisper ; and the Bishop, coughing several times, 
began the Lord's Prayer, which was repeated, 
sentence after sentence, by all those present. 
Never had the prayer been more reverently re- 
cited than on this day, when thousands of voices 
rose in a great wave of sound, and thousands of 
heads bowed humbly to the simplest of divine 
messages. When the Bishop spoke the last 
words, the crowd broke into a loud Amen, which 
was followed by a long silence broken only by the 
sound of horses' hoofs pawing the ground. 

On a sign from his guide the Bishop, after 
more preliminary coughing, commenced his 
address. He displayed a slight nervousness of 
manner and a decided inarticulateness in delivery ; 
but his audience, bent on hearing what he had to 
263 



The Storm of London 

say, soon accustomed themselves to his wearisome 
intonation. The first part of his speech dealt with 
the duty of the British nation of setting an ex- 
ample of modesty and purity to all other nations. 
So far, so good, he did not depart from the 
customary dictates of British pride. He next 
proceeded to state facts known to everyone; he 
pointed out, for instance, that public baths were 
organised in all the parks of London ; that the 
streets' safety had been assured by what he called 
" altruistic discipline " ; that the people's food was 
now as delectable as that partaken of by the higher 
classes; that the vanishing of newspapers had 
been the means of raising the public level of 
morality ; in fact, the prelate confessed that true 
Christianity ruled more forcibly in London, at 
present, than it had ever done at the epoch in 
which flourished the Times, and the Church 
Times. 

" Although the old Bishop does not put it in 
any original way ; still, I am glad he recognises 
the good points of our new Society," said Lady 
Carey, turning to Mrs Archibald, who looked 
listless and disdainful. 

" My dear Alicia, you must own that since our 
general denudation we have all been spared the 
squalid sights of misery ? " 

" But misery must exist all the same, whether 
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The Storm of London 

we see it or not," remarked Vane, who could not 
lose a prejudice nor learn a lesson. 

" Ah ! but we do not see it, my dear Montagu, 
and that is a blessing," retorted Mowbray. 

" Misery unseen is half forgotten. Is not that 
the adage of true selfishness ? " This was Nettie, 
Gwen's guide, who had brought a cup of tea to 
Mrs Archibald. 

" Listen," said Lady Carey, at this moment 
laying her hand on Mrs Archibald's shoulder. 

" When the storm divested us of all our cover- 
ing," the Bishop was saying, " my first instinct was 
to recall the Gospels, hoping to find there some- 
thing suitable to the occasion. I discovered noth- 
ing that could help me in this crisis ; and as it 
was impossible to prevent our present state, I 
meditated over what ought to be done for the 
greater extension of purity and modesty." The 
prelate's voice was clearer and his delivery more 
distinct. " I, and a few dignitaries of the Church 
of England, organised a Society for the Propaga- 
tion of Denudation, otherwise called the S.P.D. ; 
and after seeing the thing well launched in Lon- 
don, we determined to send missionaries to all 
the countries most in need of our Gospel. I am 
grieved to say that this first attempt at purifying 
the world has not been successful, for last week 
our missionary, as he landed on Calais pier, was 
265 



The Storm of London 

arrested by the agents des mceurs^ and thrust into 
prison, and had to undergo there the shamefullest 
of all penalties : the wearing of clothes. Let us 
for one second imagine his tortured feelings ; let us 
realise for an instant the agony of his wounded 
sense of modesty, when he gazed at a shirt," 
(murmurs) " and at a pair of trousers." (hisses and 
groans). " Our missionary, sick at heart, implored 
of the officials to let him return to England, and, 
having obtained permission, he took his little 
yacht back to Dover. I saw him last week and 
had a very long discussion with him upon the 
subject of how best to put our plans into execu- 
tion. But we recognised a difficulty when we con- 
templated the situation of our missionary, had he 
landed unmolested at Calais, and reached in safety 
the capital of merriment and incredulity. How 
could he have proved the authenticity of his 
mission, when he had lost his external credentials ? 
In the name of what doctrine was a paradisaical 
priest to address his clothed confreres? It 
occurred both to him and to me, that, since our 
complete divestment, the principles which kept our 
commonwealth together were more deeply rooted 
in our altruistic souls ; and further, that the 
number of our dogmas had been reduced to a few 
tenets, which could be easily lived up to without 
theological wrangling or ecclesiastic rivalry. The 
266 



The Storm of London 

missionary gravely declared to me, that we should 
never be able to attempt any proselytism abroad, 
before we had thoroughly grasped the first notion 
of the duties of a peace-maker. We threshed out 
the subject until late that evening, and spent many 
more nights trying to disentangle the skeins of 
conflicting doctrines; but after we had both 
developed our ideas on the problem of propagand- 
ism, the practical solution to the dilemma sug- 
gested itself to me last night, by which true 
religion should be saved from the waters of 
Lethe." 

A gentle breeze fanned the crowd of anxious 
listeners. The windows of the dining-halls were 
filled with human forms eagerly leaning forward. 

"Be brave, my Royal Guide, we shall never 
desert you, although your Church gives you up," 
and Mrs Pottinger laid her firm white hand on 
the arm of His Royal Highness. 

" Louder, my lord," whispered Jack Roller to 
the Bishop. 

The old man raised himself on his toes, and, 
lifting his eyes, to heaven, uttered these words : 
" The union of all churches" 



A profound silence followed ; and as the true 
purport of these words became evident to the 
267 



The Storm of London 

crowd, a loud murmur of approval arose, which 
convinced the preacher he had struck the key- 
note of the public feeling. The ice was broken, 
and feeling himself at one with his congregation, 
the ex-dignitary proceeded unhesitatingly with his 
discourse, in language which was always sincere, 
and at times even waxed eloquent. He revealed 
to his public his inner thoughts and struggles. 
Strange to say, at every phrase he destroyed 
what he had at one time worshipped, and extolled 
that which he had formerly condemned. 

"Three months ago," went on the prelate, 
"humanity had very erroneous ideas of politics, 
economics, morals, and, I fear, also of religion ; but 
now that man has not a rag upon his back, now 
that monk's hood, Bishop's apron, Hebrew 
canonicals are no more, conflicting dogmas cannot 
avail to separate man from man. The principle 
of love forms the basis of all divine teachings, 
and moral relationships between all creatures 
are the aim of all those who reverence an ideal 
of some sort. There is no doubt, my friends, that 
with the vanishing of clothes has disappeared 
also religious casuistry. Religion, and by that I 
mean love and charity, is as easy to practise in 
our large cities as it was in the small community 
of Galilee. The first thing which we must well 
understand is that religion must never be gloomy, 
268 



The Storm of London 

nor ascetic, but, on the contrary, must shed a 
radiance over mankind ; for practical religion 
consists in the perfect development of all our 
faculties, and in the enjoyment of that which is 
beautiful. Happiness is the true aim of religion, 
and it cannot be obtained by means of that 
religious depression which annihilates human 
efforts towards social reforms. Only by working 
hand in hand with science, and by strictly 
following her researches and approving of 
her discoveries, can that summum bonum be 
achieved." 

" The old fellow is unconsciously paving the 
way towards the goal ; and I think the Seer's 
invention will not raise the clergy's wrath," said 
Lionel to his little buffoon. 

" My lord, there is no saying what a Bishop 
will do when he has lost his gaiters," replied 
Dan ford. 

" My dear friends" the Bishop's tone rose higher 
" I am speaking as a man, not as the head of a 
Bishopric (I do not quite see how I could do the 
latter, since it is impossible nowadays to know a 
Canon from a Bishop, a Cardinal from a Rabbi), well 
my friends, I come as a man to tell you that we 
must accept the position, and give up attempting 
to unite the substance with the shadow. Let us 
start once more fairly on the road to enlightened 
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The Storm of London 

happiness, and let us lead the theological reform, 
next to which the great Reformation was but 
child's play. For centuries we have wrangled 
over the simplest doctrine : ' Love thy neighbour.' 
We all taught its lesson according to our lights, 
but, strange to say, bitter animosity continued to 
rule the world. It is only since our complete 
divestment that we realised that we looked first 
to the label, and rarely ever to the fundamental 
teaching. But, my friends, before we can in 
any way reform the morals of foreign countries, we 
must tighten the bonds which link men together, 
and carry into effect the great plan of religious 
unity. It is the only logical basis on which to 
establish true religion, and unless we strike the 
iron while it is hot we shall see morality 
disappearing under a heap of argumentation. 
Do not take me for a visionary constructing 
theoretical reforms which cannot be put into 
practice. I want you to know that I have looked 
at this problem from a practical point of view. 
You know as well as I do that, although every 
country had its turn in reforming the world, some- 
how the old injustice and the spirit of vindictive- 
ness had a trick of creeping up again. But now 
that the hour has struck for England to do some- 
thing in the world's tournament, let us no longer 
procrastinate but do the right thing at the right 
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The Storm of London 

moment. Much will be expected of the British 
race, for it is inclined to find fault with every 
other nation. The danger is at hand, and no one 
can accomplish this reform like us, nor can any 
other Church but ours effect this reconciliation. I 
therefore trust you will all help me in the work of 
joining hands." 

" Yes, the Bishop's firm will get the job of re- 
papering and whitewashing the old barn." And 
Dan chuckled as he turned towards Lord 
Somerville. 

" How irreverent you are, Dan," reprovingly 
said Lionel. 

" My lord, you do not know your own country- 
men. It is only when a great reform evokes a 
trivial image in John Bull's sleepy mind that an 
Utopian ideal has any power to move him. You 
see, John Bull is of a homely disposition, and he 
is very fond of telling you that the surface of our 
planet and the relations between nations have 
greatly altered since a man one day watched a 
kettle simmering. The Bishop knows his own 
flock well enough, and he leads them with a gentle 
hand." 

" Listen, Dan, to his closing words." 

" England has behaved well throughout this 
crisis, my friends, it has shown self-control and 
good-humour in making the best of a very un- 
271 



The Storm of London 

comfortable position ; and I have no hesitation in 
declaring before you all, that it is owing to our 
being essentially a moral nation that God chose 
us to evangelise other races less felicitous. Let us 
never forget that we are a practical nation, in- 
capable of being led away from the path of 
wisdom by moonstruck Utopians ; and let us 
always bear in mind that the Anglo-Saxon is 
always ready to take his share in a case of rescue, 
when the means of effecting it lie in conforming 
to the country's code of honour." 

" There he is again at his old game of British 
pride," and Lionel shrugged his shoulders as he 
tightened his horse's reins and moved on. 

" Ah ! my lord, be more lenient with him ; 
the man means well, and that is all we want for 
the present. Naturally he sticks to a few 
obsolete prejudices, but never mind that, for 
he has risen to the greatest heights in being for 
once sincere." 

"Well, Mr Vane? "inquired Mrs Archibald, as 
she turned her face towards the dismayed 
countenance of the dilettante, " what do you think 
of the Bishop's address ? " 

" Our ranks are thinning, dear Mrs Archibald ; 
the more reason for us to draw close to one 
another and to struggle against the rising waves 
272 



The Storm of London 

of vulgarity." The little fetish of Society put his 
hand to his eyes what was it? A pang at his 
heart or a sudden faintness ? No one knew, for 
he soon recovered his self-control and was as 
flippant as ever. 



273 



CHAPTER XVIII 

" How isolated we are in this wide, wide world," 
said Mrs Archibald to Lord Mowbray, a few days 
after the meeting in St Paul's. They had rambled 
beyond Putney Bridge on a warm afternoon, and 
having reached Barnes Commons had seated 
themselves upon the soft grass. These two re- 
calcitrants mourned pitifully over their present 
state and uncongenial surroundings, and, as they 
sat, related to each other in short, spasmodic 
sentences their grievous historiette of woe. Anec- 
dote after anecdote escaped their lips, which 
recalled a past glory, a social Paradise for ever 
lost to them. Mrs Archibald described to her 
companion the scene in Lord Somerville's library, 
when Temple had spoken what she had at the 
time considered such shameful words. However, 
she was beginning to have some dim understand- 
ing of what Sinclair had meant when he said that 
a blush at the right moment was a good thing ; 
and she and Lord Mowbray felt somewhat uncom- 
274 



The Storm of London 

fortable as they realised the anomaly of recalling 
a clothed Society in their state of nature. For the 
first time in their artificial lives did their two 
hearts throb and long for something they had 
never known, and as they talked bitter tears 
trickled down their pale cheeks. When they had 
nearly finished their task of disentangling the 
skein of their complex past lives, they came to a 
full stop ; and behind the mass of frivolity and 
petty sorrowings evoked by their anxious brain, 
they remarked in a corner, a dying Cupid, panting 
for life, whom they decided to revive. But here 
we must stop, for it does not do always to analyse 
the motives of human beings ; suffice it to say that 
in their frenzied revolt against the uncongeniality 
of their surroundings, they fell into each other's 
arms. Often a puerile cause has been the means 
of working out a momentous effect. But a re- 
markable thing occurred to these two recalcitrants, 
as they stood heart to heart, lip to lip: one by 
one their prejudices disappeared, the shallow- 
ness of their social past dawned upon them, and 
they now saw the meaning of their present 
condition. 

They returned to London, to the great world, 
as man and wife, and completely cured of their 
feverish delusion. 



275 



The Storm of London 

But where was he? Where, the little dilettante 
who had for years carefully ministered to 
Society's artistic needs ? He had fed the grand 
monde with small buns of his own making, and his 
flatterers and parasites had turned away from him 
in disgust, begging for some other bun of a better 
kneading. 

Towards the end of July, Lord Somerville and 
his faithful buffoon were walking in Half Moon 
Street when Lionel suddenly suggested that they 
should look up Montagu Vane. 

" As you like, my lord," replied Danford ; " I 
have not caught sight of the little figure for many 
days." 

They came to the dilettante's house, where, as 
in every house in England, the front door stood 
open. (Vane had not been able to resist public 
opinion, and for the sake of his own reputation as 
a fashionable man, he had given way to this 
custom.) The two men entered the hall, and as 
they began to ascend the staircase they had the 
impression of penetrating into the Palace of the 
Sleeping Beauty. They went up the narrow stairs, 
very soon found themselves in the large drawing- 
rooms, and looked round at the frescoed walls 
representing mythological subjects. 

" This place of fashionable gatherings looks 
more abandoned than the deserts of Arabia," 
276 



The Storm of London 

said Lionel, " this was the last haunt of the social 
elite ; and there is about these rooms a stale 
aroma of vieille Soctiti> which makes me feel 
faint." 

They seated themselves upon chairs carved in 
the shape of shells; other seats and fauteuils 
represented flowers and fruits, in imitation of 
Dresden china. Poor Vane, he had done his level 
best to keep up his standard of rococo art. 

" I was told that very few came to his parties 
of late was that so ? " inquired Danford. 

" Ah ! my dear Dan, I have seen him waste his 
energy and such gifts as he had to entertain half- 
a-dozen men and women, so as to keep up his 
ephemeral influence over what he still persisted 
in calling his salon. Some, like Mrs Archibald 
ah ! I always forget she is Lady Mowbray now 
came with her present husband ; Lady Carey 
accompanied them, simply for the sake of past 
associations, or out of pity. One evening ah ! I 
can never forget that evening, why ! it was only 
last week Sinclair and I arrived at ten o'clock, 
and found Vane all alone, in that very shell-seat 
you are in. He was waiting for his guests. I can 
see him in my mind's eye, lying back, his eyes 
shut. The rooms were discreetly lighted up ; 
the tables, or monopodiums, as he insisted on 
calling them, were laden with luscious fruit, whilst 
277 



The Storm of London 

muffled melody of an invisible orchestra, playing 
antiquated gavottes and minuettos, was heard in 
the distance. Latterly these were the only strains 
he approved of. When he caught sight of us in 
the doorway, he got up and came forward, seizing 
hold of our hands. ' Oh ! my dear friends/ said 
he, ' you are welcome ! You will he.p me to- 
night.' I noticed a thrill of sadness in his voice, 
and I detected a tear in the corner of his eye. 

* What's up?' asked Sinclair. 'My dear friends, 1 
he replied, ' you will never guess. The Prince of. 
Goldstein-Neubaum, my social guide, has dropped 
me ! ' Poor Vane went on telling us that the 
Prince had telephoned to him an hour ago, an- 
nouncing that he could no longer continue to be 
his guide. * And what do you think ? ' went on 
the little dilettante, f he said he was going to join 
the School of Observation! Too dreadful, my 
poor friends. When the leaders of Society give 
up the game, what is there left ? Of course you, 
who represent our Peerage, are utterly lost, so are 
the men who, like you, Sinclair, directed the 
public's taste ; but there still remained Royalty, 
and I always hoped they would ultimately bring 
you all back to a saner way of regarding life.' 

* And you are all alone ? ' said Sinclair to him. 
' Well, we shall help you. Do you expect many 
to-night? ' as he looked round at the great display 

278 



The Storm of London 

of flowers and refreshments. ' To tell you the 
truth/ and Vane spoke in subdued tones, ' I 
thought it was time to bring matters to a crisis, 
and I telephoned all over London to remind my 
friends that this evening would be my last At 
Home, as the season would soon break up.' My 
dear Dan, it was pitiful to watch the poor 
little man's sadness, and I have never been so 
sorry for him as I was on that memorable 
evening." 

" I daresay, my lord, very few turned up," 
remarked Dan. 

" My dear fellow, not one single soul came that 
night. When twelve o'clock struck, Vane's face 
became the colour of a corpse. The ticking of the 
pendulum, as it swung remorselessly backwards 
and forwards, seemed to furrow deep wrinkles in 
the wan face of our desolate friend. We were 
witnessing the final agony of a marionette which 
Society had held up by strings; until one day 
it grew weary of its plaything, and dropped the 
toy upon the ground. He sat there, his little curly 
head drooping on his breast, like a withered 
flower on its stem ; whilst the invisible orchestra 
played Boccherini's minuetto. The atmosphere of 
that past haunt of Society was redolent of exotic 
perfumes which made us giddy. Towards three 
o'clock in the morning we left him without dis- 
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The Storm of London 

turbing his reflections, and we have never seen him 
since ; it is only a week ago." 

" Shall we go, my lord ? Time is short, and this 
is no place for men like you." 

" Let us run upstairs, Dan. I reproach my- 
self for not having come to inquire after him 
before." 

Lionel led the way upstairs, followed by the 
somewhat reluctant Danford. They pushed open 
the door leading into the dilettante's bedroom, 
but at first, could not see anything, for the shutters 
were closed. The overpowering stillness caused 
the two men to pause on the threshold, and to 
hold their breath. After a few seconds they heard 
the regular tick-tack of an old empire timepiece, 
and gradually their eyes perceived in the dark the 
glittering brass ornaments of the furniture. Dan- 
ford the practical saw no fun in remaining thus in 
total obscurity, and he groped his way towards 
the large bay window. He turned the latch, 
pushed the shutters aside, and let in a flow of 
sunshine which revealed the mahogany bed- 
stead on which lay the small body of Montagu 
Vane. 

Lionel, who had crossed the room and joined 
Dan, touched his arm. 

" There he is," murmured the two men. They 
walked on tip-toe close to the bed and gazed upon 
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The Storm of London 

the little dilettante, stretched out on his pallet 
sleeping his last sleep. 

" He is quite cold," whispered Lionel, laying his 
hand on the motionless heart. 

" But not yet stiff, my lord," added Dan, whose 
keen eye detected the suppleness of the limbs, 
which could not have been cold for more than a 
few hours. The wrinkles had been smoothed 
down, and the petty, frivolous expression of the 
small face had been replaced by the placid aspect 
of a wax doll. 

"Do you think there was any struggle, my 
dear Dick ? " Lionel looked at his guide with 
anguish. 

" No, my lord ; there seems to have been no 
wrench, no painful parting from life. What you 
witnessed, that evening when the world aban- 
doned him, must have been the only agony he 
ever knew." 

" Yes, his was a sad life. He loved no one." 

" My dear Lord Somerville, what is much worse 
still, no one loved him. The inadequacy of this 
little man to his environment made his existence 
pitiful." 

They looked round the room. The doors, 

window frames and shutters were all of mahogany. 

The bed, in the shape of a gondola, also of 

mahogany, was supported by two gilded swans' 

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The Storm of London 

heads, and garlands in gilt ornamented the sides 
of the bed. In one corner of the room was a 
mahogany pedestal on which stood a silver 
candelabra; in another corner, a small chiffonier 
was placed ; and on the dressing-table stood 
a silver bowl containing a bouquet of faded 
roses. 

" What a strange idea of his," Lionel whispered ; 
" this is quite a woman's bedroom, and a copy of 
Madame Re"camier's room in Paris." Tears 
gathered in his eyes. "And this is all he could 
invent to surround himself with ; but I daresay 
it all went together with his taste for the old 
minuetto." 

" Let us be off, my lord. His silly little tale is 
told, and this atmosphere is unhealthy." 

They left the bedside, closed the mahogany 
shutters and went out of the room. 

"We shall have to give notice at the 
Crematorium," said Lionel, when they were once 
more in the balmy air and sunshine. 

" If you like I will go, my lord. Do not trouble 
yourself." 

It was pleasant to breathe again the fragrance 
of trees and flowers. Piccadilly seemed full of 
life and happiness after that scene in the death 
chamber. It was altogether so artificial that 
Lionel could feel no sorrow for the loss of his little 
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The Storm of London 

friend, and by the time they had reached Park 
Lane he had almost banished from his memory 
the mahogany room and the little corpse lying 
there. 

" I do not think I shall mention this to 
Gwendolen," said Lord Somerville. 

" I should not, my lord. Why should you 
mention the death of what you are not quite sure 
ever existed ? The little dilettante was an optical 
delusion of Society's over-heated brain. When 
the brain fever was cured, the delusion went ; and 
no one now could remember the existence of the 
little mannikin." 

" Next week we open the Palace of Happiness. 
Dick, I dread it." 

"You need not, my lord. Step by step you 
have led that worthy John Bull through the 
labyrinths of Utopia, and all the way he has 
marvelled at the easy roads. Dear old, ingenuous 
John Bull patted your back, expressing his joy at 
being in the company of a sane mind who knew 
that two and two made four." 

" Ah ! but I quake, Dan, when I think he will 
soon find out that very often two and two 
make five. What will John Bull do to me 
when he sees that I have played a trick upon 
him ? " 

"The last lesson will be easier to teach than 
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The Storm of London 

were the first ones, my lord. There is something 
in the character of John Bull which facilitates the 
work of reform; whilst you are instructing him, 
he labours under the delusion that it is he who is 
teaching you a lesson. Look at all that we have 
already achieved : hygiene has reformed the race, 
physical pain has well-nigh disappeared ; and next 
week we are to be in possession of the greatest 
invention of all, by means of which we shall be 
able to read the inner souls of our fellow-creatures. 
On that day we shall say Eureka. Think of it, my 
lord, realise the grandeur of that invention ! The 
object and subject will be one, appearance and 
reality will be seen in their whole ; in one word, 
mind and matter will be united." 

" My dear Dan, I know that no happiness can 
ever be lasting until one soul can penetrate 
another. But how ever will the Britisher take this 
invention ? You know his susceptibilities, his 
deep love for self-isolation, how he hates to wear 
his heart on his sleeve, and his horror of letting 
any of his fellow-creatures guess his inner emotion. 
I cannot help being anxious." 

" Do not be faint-hearted, my lord. John Bull 
will receive your last message with the greatest 
composure. He will work out his own salvation, 
with the firm belief that he is only carrying out 
his own plans on a logical basis. 
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The Storm of London 

" Here we are at Hertford Street, Dick ; I am 
going to see Sir Richard. You might go to the 
Crematorium." 

" By Jove, my lord ! I had quite forgotten the 
poor little body ! " ejaculated Danford, and the two 
men parted. 



285 



CHAPTER XIX 

" ARE you there ? " inquired Victor de Laumel of 
Lionel through the telephone, a few days before 
the opening of the palace. 

" Is that you, Victor ? " 

" Yes ; we are all very much amused over here, 
and wonder if you are really in earnest about your 
Palace of Happiness ? " 

" Nothing more serious, my dear boy. It will 
be the crowning of all our social reforms." 

" Bah, man cher ! you have lost all your sense 
of humour ! When I think of our diners fins, 
and our pleasant chats together, I cannot under- 
stand your making such fools of yourselves 
especially over a mere trifle." 

" Trifle, my dear Victor ! This is the most 
important event in our history, and the results to 
which this trifle will lead are colossal. But you 
will one day perhaps be induced to imitate us." 

" Nonsense, my dear man ; we are too eclectic 

to return to paradisaical fashions. Rabelais, with 

his boisterous jovialty, and sound doctrine of good 

health united to good spirits, is more to the taste 

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The Storm of London 

of a race which to this day, in some provinces, 
speaks his sixteenth-century vernacular, and 
inherits his practical views of life." 

" Ah ! but we have read Carlyle, my dear Victor, 
and seen through the hollowness of our former 
social fabric." 

" Mon cher ami, had you carefully read 
Montaigne, you would know that the great 
essayist had hurled a stone at the tawdriness of 
our clothes-screens long before the Recluse of 
Cheyne Walk. But I forget that you take this 
kind of thing to heart ! You are a moral race oh ' 
a very moral one whatever you may do." 

" I think, dear Victor, you will be impressed 
with our national reforms when you are thoroughly 
acquainted with them." 

" Well, well, what is the upshot of all this ? I 
can quite realise the scientific import of the Seer's 
discovery ; though, for my own part, I should very 
much object to seeing the inner soul of a Loubet 
or the secret motives of a Combes. But I can 
imagine that in business dealings, or in matrimonial 
transactions, it might be of great advantage to be 
able to investigate the motives of financiers or of 
mothers-in-law. Still, I want to know what part 
you, the English aristocracy, are playing in this 
burlesque?" 

"We are the leaders in this great bloodless 
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The Storm of London 

revolution; and we have, owing to our self- 
abnegation, saved the masses, and rebuilt our 
social edifice on a stronger basis than before." 

" My poor Lionel, that's been done long ago ! 
Our revolution of 1789 was nothing but a noble 
renunciation of all prerogatives and privileges on 
the part of our noblesse ; still, the outrages of 1793 
very soon showed how futile were the attempts 
at reform from within." 

" Different countries have different customs, 
dear Victor, and you must never judge our self- 
controlled commonwealth from the standpoint of 
your bloodthirsty democracy. It is not so much 
that our aristocracy is unlike yours, but that your 
lower classes are utterly different from our own." 

" Anyhow, dear Lionel, I have made up my 
mind to go over and see things for myself." 

" Ah, that's a good fellow ! Come along, and 
we will do all that lies in our power to make you 
happy. You won't be bored, I declare ; and your 
visit over here will at all events furnish you with 
some topics of conversation on your return to 
Paris." 

And Victor de Laumel arrived next day in 
the afternoon, after a lovely crossing in his yacht 
(for the Calais-Dover had ceased running, and he 
was the first foreigner who had landed in England 
since the storm). He stood on the Charing Cross 
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The Storm of London 

platform as God made him ; it having occurred to 
him that the Londoners might be offended at his 
Parisian outfit and at his disregarding the new 
fashion of denudation. On the day following his 
arrival, his first visit was to Montagu Vane ; but 
on his arrival at his house, he found to his great 
surprise that it had been pulled down. He 
inquired after the little dilettante from several 
of his friends, on his way to Selby House, but 
quite in vain, for no one could tell him anything; 
and he thought that London Society had certainly 
not improved, if it could forget the existence of its 
arbiter in all matters of art. He did not, however, 
ponder long over such questions ; he had come 
over to judge impartially the London reforms, 
and he was not going to allow his prejudices to 
influence him ; so he made the most of his short 
stay in the capital, seeing everything, escorted 
either by Lionel or by Sinclair, who, by the way, 
seemed to him to have become dreadfully dull. 
His rambles with Danford rather amused him, 
although he saw no novelty in the admission to 
fashionable households of these little truth-tellers, 
for this had been done before in mediaeval times ; 
but what baffled him was the good-fellowship with 
which the Upper Ten appeared to treat these 
little buffoons. He dined at the dining-halls, 
attended meetings at the ex-clubs in Pall Mall, 
T 289 



The Storm of London 

went to tournaments, plays, even drove in a 
chariot with Tom Hornsby, and above all admired 
Gwendolen beyond expression. But, after he had 
done these things and thrown himself body and 
soul in the spirit of the new civilisation, he came 
to the conclusion that it was all very well for a 
race which took things au serieux, but that it 
would never do for Parisians; and he could not 
for one instant believe that on the borders of the 
Seine political rancour could ever be uprooted 
and replaced by love and charity, because one 
man had seen another in nature's garb. 

" Ah ! quelle plaisanterie, mon cher ! " Victor 
would ejaculate, when his friend highly extolled 
the beauties of their Paradise Regained. 

" But how on earth," exclaimed Lionel, one day, 
as he and Victor walked along Bond Street 
together, " are you able to recognise everyone as 
you do ? It took Society a very long time before 
it could distinguish a Duke from a hall porter ! " 

" Que vous $tes drole, mon pauvre ami ! I never 
found any difficulty ! You see, we French people 
are not lacking in perspicacity, and although we 
excel in all matters of elegance, and attach 
perhaps more importance to our appearance than 
your nation ever did, yet we never lose sight of 
the person's individuality hidden beneath the 
woven tissues." 

290 



The Storm of London 



"As you will not take me to see your wonderful 
palace," said Victor to Lionel the day before the 
opening, "you might at least tell me where 
it is." 

" We chose Regent's Park as a suitable place, 
and built in the centre of it a monumental edifice, 
not unlike our old Crystal Palace, though twice as 
large, and covered with a glass dome. Round the 
top of the hall runs a gallery out of which doors 
open into rooms of about twenty feet square. In 
these private laboratories scientific experiments 
can be developed by anyone who brings an in- 
vention to the Committee of Public Reforms." 

" What anarchy, my dear Lionel ; I cannot 
imagine how such a plan would work at our 
Sorbonne ! " 

" Ah ! but you are an academical country ! " re- 
plied Lord Somerville. " You would be astonished 
at the number of young scientists who are coming 
to the fore. Ever since education ceased to be com- 
pulsory, personal initiative has become more fre- 
quent amongst men of the younger generation who 
are eager to play a useful part on our world stage. 
After the scientific discovery has been thoroughly 
tested in a private laboratory, and its results 
declared to be satisfactory by the inventor, it is 
publicly tried in the central hall before all who 
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The Storm of London 

can comfortably assemble there, and repeated 
each day, until all Londoners, together with repre- 
sentatives of every town in England, have judged 
whether or no the discovery is like to add 
happiness to humanity." 

" I suppose it was you who chose the name by 
which the palace is called ? " inquired Victor. 

" I suggested it, but there was a long discussion 
about that. The clergy, desirous to immortalise 
their union with other churches, were anxious to 
call it the Palace of Scientific Religion ; the 
bigwigs of the old War Office, who have become 
more pacific than the Little Englanders of our 
past civilisation, insisted that the place should be 
named the Palace of Bloodless Victories." 

" Then what did you do to bring them round to 
your way of thinking ? " 

" My dear man, I did not bring them round at 
all ; they gradually came round of their own accord, 
when they realised that happiness was our aim, 
and that all our efforts were but means to that 
end.' 1 

" Strange people you are," thoughtfully remarked 
Victor. 

" Never has man been so thoroughly disciplined, 
my dear Victor, or so free to develop his faculties 
to the utmost, as since he voluntarily gave up the 
attempt to dominate his fellows." 
292 



The Storm of London 

"All the positivists, past and present, have 
preached that felonious doctrine," said Victor, 
shrugging his shoulders. " Even your great 
Herbert Spencer who was what one may call a 
pessimistic reformer owned that before man could 
realise a perfect state of freedom, he would have to 
master the passions which give a bias to all his 
actions, and render him powerless to create a social 
Utopia. May this blissful state of things continue, 
and may the Seer find your hearts as pure as new- 
born babes when he turns his searchlight on to you." 

" There is no fear of that, dear Victor ; London 
has been going through mental gymnastics for a 
few weeks, and you could not find one creature 
that did not harbour the purest intentions. Even 
that uninteresting couple, the Mowbrays, have not 
in their whole composition a grain of malice, 
although they started late in their career of 
reform." 

. . ' . 

The Palace of Happiness opened next day, on 
what Londoners were formerly wont to call 
Goodwood Day. Thousands and thousands march- 
ing in perfect order entered the hall, and seated 
themselves on the benches which had been erected 
one above the other and reached right up to the 
gallery. At one end of the hall, on a marble 
platform raised three feet from the ground, Lionel 
293 



The Storm of London 

and Gwen, Sinclair and Eva, with many others 
who formed part of the committee, were re- 
clining on couches. Victor de Laumel sat dis- 
creetly behind the Somervilles, for they had hinted 
to their Parisian friend that his presence might 
attract the attention of the public and put it out 
of humour against the whole performance. Lionel 
kept saying that until this ceremony was over 
they were not out of the wood, and could not say 
positively that John Bull had been won over. 

Notwithstanding the size and height of the hall, 
the scent of flowers was intoxicating, as masses of 
cut roses, jasmine and carnations were strewed over 
the platform and the seats, whilst huge garlands of 
tropical flowers hung in festoons along the upper 
gallery. 

At the other end of the edifice, opposite the 
platform, an enormous arch had been constructed 
as an entrance to the hall, through which the 
crowd could watch the slow progress of the pro- 
cession in the distance, as it came up the broad 
avenue bordered with exotic plants. From where 
they were seated in the hall, it was difficult to 
distinguish the exact details of that triumphal 
procession, but they could discern in the sunshine 
a dazzling object carried in state by several male 
figures. This was the casket, or, as it was more 
appropriately called, the Reliquary, which con- 
294 



The Storm of London 

tained the instrument designed by the Seer to 

bring universal happiness. The bearers of this 

heavy burden were numerous, for the Reliquary 

was large and weighty, and strong muscles were 

needed to lift up and down this solid mass of 

gold. Not only had the great of the land 

volunteered to fulfil the humble duties of bearers 

in this unparalleled pageant, but men who held 

exalted positions at Court had of one accord 

given up their coronets and decorations, their 

military orders and medals, in order that these 

might be melted down and recast into this 

magnificent casket. Likewise had Royal 

Princesses, and the flower of feminine aristocracy, 

unhesitatingly handed over to the Seer all their 

tiaras, necklaces and costly jewels, to ornament 

the outside of this precious receptacle. It was an 

impressive sight, and one which no living man 

could compare with any past pageant in history ^ 

to see these men, who three months ago had 

firmly believed in the power of wealth and 

position, standing now shoulder to shoulder 

divested of their wordly masks and leading the 

way to the happy goal. Perhaps also their hearts 

throbbed with pride as they thought of the private 

ceremony which was to follow this public function : 

a special train was to carry the Reliquary and 

the bearers to Dover, where, from the pier, they 

295 



The Storm of London 

would hurl the symbol of all past vanities into the 
Channel. They thirsted for this last act of self- 
abnegation, and moreover they felt that it would 
be a salutary hint to the nation over the way. 

The clock struck twelve, and as the last stroke 
vibrated through the clear atmosphere, the head of 
the procession passed through the porch. 

Mrs David Pottinger, holding the hand of the 
American Seer, entered first ; behind her came the 
twenty bearers carrying the Reliquary. The 
public stared in amazement at its size twelve 
feet long and eight feet wide and they were 
dazzled by the beauty of the mass of solid gold 
all inlaid with precious stones. As the bearers 
slowly advanced into the middle of the hall, the 
whole assembly rose, and many were moved to 
tears as they read on the top of the casket the 
magic word, Happiness, spelt in diamonds, rubies 
and sapphires. Not one word, not one clap of 
hands were heard to disturb the sanctity of the 
ceremony. Immediately behind the Reliquary 
came the American colony, walking three abreast. 
They were all there, proud of their kinsman, to 
whom the world in future would owe an eternal 
debt of gratitude, and they were honoured at being 
allowed to be of use to dear old England, whose 
hospitality they so thoroughly appreciated. Be- 
hind these marched the Music Hall Artists, men 
296 



The Storm of London 

and women ; and at their approach a thrill ran 
through the audience. They fluttered with wild 
excitement at the sight of these dapper men and 
spruce little women, who seemed to bring with 
them an element of good-natured fun, and to whom 
England owed, in a sense, its salvation. What 
the audience felt was similar to that which they 
formerly experienced in the days when the Horse 
Guards used to appear on the scene, to announce 
the approach of a Royal carriage. Still, no words 
rose to their lips ; their gratitude for these wise 
jesters was too deeply rooted in their hearts to 
find expression in vulgar applause. Their eyes 
lingered in rapture on the ranks of the satirists 
whose action had, at a critical moment, pulled 
Society together, and taught its members how to 
observe and how to remember. 

From these the audience looked up at the 
twenty bearers, and marvelled at their transforma- 
tion, recognising in one a Royal Highness, in 
others a Prime Minister, a Field-Marshal, an 
Archbishop, a South African millionaire and 
various Members of Parliament. 

Mrs Pottinger and the Seer were within a 
few steps of the platform, when the proces- 
sion suddenly came to a standstill; the mem- 
bers of the committee, rising from their seats, came 
forward and bowed to the couple, whilst Gwen- 
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The Storm of London 

dolen and her friends remained behind with their 
guest from the other side of the Channel, to whom 
they were anxious to show the utmost courtesy. 
The twenty bearers carefully lifted the heavy 
burden from their shoulders, and deposited on the 
ground, the Reliquary which rested on ten 
sphinxes' heads carved in solid gold. The twenty 
representatives of a vanished civilisation showed 
no signs of lassitude after their long pilgrimage, 
but stood upright, facing the committee with the 
tranquil expression which heroes bear on their 
faces when they have accomplished their duty. 

The bells began to peal in honour of the new 
era just dawning on the world, and the men and 
women gathered in thousands in the hall, gazed in 
silent admiration at the beauty of the Reliquary 
enveloped in the burning rays of sunshine. They 
remembered what that word spelt in precious 
stones had meant to each of them. They called 
up in their mind's eye the pageants of the last few 
years, with all the morbid excitement and savage 
rowdiness which accompanied such shows ; and 
they blushed at what they were brought up to 
regard as happiness, which was in reality merely a 
fierce love of enjoyment and a wrong notion of 
national honour. The topsy-turvyism of past 
London was so revolting and so incongruous with 
their present mode of life, that to many who were 
298 



The Storm of London 

present, Hogarth's print of Gin Lane came before 
their eyes, as a symbol of an intoxicated world in 
which even the houses reeled on the top of each 
other in a universal culbute. 

Suddenly the bells stopped, and Mrs Pottinger 
and the Seer, having bowed to the committee, 
turned round and walked back to the Reliquary. 
There was a slight nervousness about the in- 
ventor's movements, and his hand shook visibly as 
he held it above the casket. Gradually he lowered 
it until the precious stones came in contact with 
the palm of his hand ; and when his sinewy fingers 
grasped the golden latch, which he lifted with a 
sharp snap, the noise sounded, in the intense 
silence, like a gun fired in the distance. To 
Lionel's memory it brought back the first exodus 
of Londoners three months ago. 

At that moment, as if compelled by some 
higher power, the assembly broke into a shout of 
joy, which was echoed by the thousands who were 
gathered outside the hall ; and a few seconds 
afterwards they gave expression to their pent- 
up emotion by shouting the word which was 
inscribed on the Reliquary. 

" Happiness 1 Happiness ! " they unceasingly 
vociferated, whilst the Seer slowly opened the lid 
encrusted all over with diamonds. 

" Happiness ! Happiness ! " 
299 



The Storm of London 

The bells began to peal once more, and the sun 
flooded the hall through every aperture. The Seer 
brought out of the Reliquary a small instrument 
in the shape of a revolving wheel, which he held 
at arm's length above his head. At that instant 
the shouting was so deafening that the Seer had 
to exercise all his self-control not to break down 
under the emotion which mastered him. 

The rays of the sun streaming into the hall were 
so dazzling, that every detail was blurred; the 
glass dome seemed to lift itself away in the azure, 
and the walls to crumble down, as the last barrier 
which had separated man from man was 
annihilated. 

An unfettered world wrapped in a golden 
vapour stood under the blue sky, shouting for 
ever and ever, " Happiness ! Happiness ! 
Happiness ! " 



300 



CHAPTER XX 

" WHAT'S been the matter with me ? " 

" Nothing very serious, Lord Somerville," 
cheerily replied Sir Edward Bartley. " You are 
all right now ; but you must not excite yourself. 
Now, now, don't look round in that way." And the 
eminent surgeon laid his soft hand on his patient's 
wrist. 

" This is strange, Sir Edward. Have the carpets 
and curtains come back ? " and two tears trickled 
down Lionel's emaciated cheeks. 

" Sh, sh ! that's all right." Sir Edward turned 
to the valet, who stood close by. " Temple, you 
must put some more ice on your master's head. 
That same idea is haunting him; and we shall 
have him delirious again if we don't look out." 

" No, Sir Edward," murmured Gwendolen 
Towerbridge, seated at the foot of the bed. 
" Lord Somerville is all right, leave him to me, and 
you will find him perfectly well when you return 
this afternoon." The eminent surgeon took 
Gwen's hand in his own and looked intently into 
her face. 

301 



The Storm of London 

" My dear young lady, you have already saved 
his life ; for no trained nurse could have shown 
more skill, more tact, than you have done 
throughout this alarming case. It is a perfect 
mystery to me how a fashionable and spirited 
young girl like you could, in one day, become 
such a clever nurse and a devoted woman." 

" Ah ! that is my secret, Sir Edward." Gwen 
looked down blushingly. " But some day I may 
tell it you, if he allows me." 

"Well, well," and he gently patted her hand, 
" I leave the patient in your hands ; if you can 
bring him round to a saner view of his surround- 
ings, you will have done a great deal ; for he is 
quite unhinged, and I am not sure that his brain 
is not affected." 

" Oh dear, no ! my dear Sir Edward, Lord 
Somerville is quite sane ; who knows, perhaps 
even saner than you or I." 

" Poor, dear lady, I am afraid the strain has 
been too much for you, and we shall have you 
laid up if you persist in not taking a rest." And 
Sir Edward silently left the room, followed by 
Temple. 

" My precious Lion, you have at last come back 
to me ! " exclaimed Gwen, as she threw herself on 
her knees and kissed Lionel's hand. 

" Ah ! I knew it was all true," wearily said Lord 
302 



The Storm of London 

Somerville, " for you call me as she did Lion. 
But tell me, dearest, when did all these clothes and 
curtains come back ? " 

" My poor darling, these clothes, these carpets 
never disappeared. It has been a long dream 
a long and beautiful dream." 

" All a dream then Danford, the witty and 
faithful guide? " 

" Yes, a dream, my precious Lionel." 

" And all is as it was before that storm ? But 
you, Gwen, you are not the same, you are the 
Una of my dream ; I see it in your radiant 
expression. Tell me, dearest, how did it happen ? 
Did I really shoot myself? " 

" Yes, dear but to go back to that night. As 
you remember, the storm was of such a nature as 
to prevent our reaching Richmond Park, and we 
turned back to town as fast as ever we could to 
Hertford Street. At about two o'clock in the 
morning father was roused by his valet, who told 
him that Temple had come to say he had 
found you in the library, shot through the 
head." 

" And you ? " Poor Gwen evaded the searching 
look of her lover by burying her face in the 
counterpane. 

" My father never told me what had happened 
until next day." She looked up at Lionel. " Do 
303 



The Storm of London 

not ask me if I felt for you ; I do not know, and I 
do not wish to remember. I only know that two 
days after, as I rode back through the Park, I 
looked in to inquire how you were. I came into 
this room, and found the surgeon, who told me 
your nurse had to leave, for she had been suddenly 
taken ill ; and I sat down by your bed, just as I 
was in my riding-habit, to watch you until another 
nurse had been found." 

"Poor Gwen, it was a horrid ordeal, for you 
always hated sickness and loathed nursing." 

"Yes, and I was so mad at the surgeon 
suggesting that I should watch you, that I lashed 
your dog with my whip as he came running into 
the room. He set up a most awful howl which 
you never heard, fortunately. I sat down, and you 
began to wander. At first it seemed but the 
ravings of a madman and I did not pay much 
attention ; but by the evening, I was amused at 
your suggestions, and told the upper housemaid 
to go and fetch my maid with my things. I had 
made up my mind to stay." 

" To nurse me, Gwen ? Ah ! how good of you," 
interrupted Lionel. 

" No, Lionel, I don't want you to have a wrong 

impression of me, it was not at all to nurse you, 

it was in the hopes that you would renew that 

fascinating dream. You were most entertaining 

304 



The Storm of London 

that night, and I laughed outright at the funny 
things you said." 

" I daresay it was as amusing as the play you 
would have gone to that night," laughingly 
remarked Lionel. 

" Oh ! my dear Lionel, I was so very tired of my 
social entertainments ; and the whole show had 
lost a good deal of its glamour, for it was my third 
season." 

" So you thought my dream was more diverting, 
and therefore decided to remain in the seat for 
which you had not paid." 

" Yes, that's it ; I must confess the truth, for we 
must never deceive each other again." 

"Poor little Gwen, how you must have hated 
me, for I am ashamed to say, some of my remarks 
were anything but flattering." 

" No, Lionel ; but you taught me how to know 
you, and I learned how to know myself. I have 
sat night after night in this chair, listening to 
your dream, watching every phase of your regener- 
ated London. I shared in all your reforms, and 
at times you even answered my questions. I 
could start your weird dream at any time, and at 
a suggestion of mine you would take up the thread 
of your narrative just where you had left it the 
night before." 

" It must have been like a sensational /eut'Me ton 
u 305 



The Storm of London 

which you expected each day to thrill you anew. 
But how worn out you must be, sweetheart. How 
long have I been in this condition?" inquired 
Lionel. 

" Two months, dearest ; but instead of wearing 
me out this hallucination kept me alive and put new 
blood into my veins. I can quite well see that 
Sir Edward believes I am on the verge of a mental 
collapse. Poor man, he does not see what we see 
and cannot feel as we do ; he is still hopelessly 
ignorant." 

" What a narrow escape I have had," remarked 
Lionel. 

" It was miraculous, and the surgeons said 
they only knew of one other case in which 
a man who had been shot right through 
the head recovered consciousness after two 
months." 

" I daresay everyone will say my brain is affected 
whenever I say or do anything out of the common." 

" Never mind, Lionel, you and I have seen into 
each other's heart, and that is sufficient to out- 
weigh the loss of the world's approbation. You 
see, we cannot look to a storm to wash away all our 
world's shams ; so we shall have to pass for 
eccentric or unorthodox, if we mean to live in a 
world of our own." 

" But then, dear Gwen, you remember that 
306 



The Storm of London 

Danford said we should be followed in our social 
reforms by all the cads that surround us." 

" Yes, I daresay, but it will be a long time be- 
fore that happens, and I have done my little work 
of reform personally, by dismissing my maid, and 
by sending all my wardrobe to poor gentlewomen. 
This old shabby dress is the only one I have worn 
for two months. Ah! Lionel, I am ashamed 
at appearing before you in such an indecent thing 
as a dress but you know, we cannot reform the 
world too abruptly, and besides I was afraid Sir 
Edward might give me in charge ! " and they 
both laughed heartily. It did him good to recall 
the old jokes, and his face brightened as he 
watched Gwen pirouetting round the room. 

There was a gentle knock at the door, and 
Temple came in with Gwendolen's luncheon, 
which he placed on the table. He handed to her 
on a silver tray a bundle of letters and cards. 

" How funny to see letters again," said Lionel. 
" Who are they from ? " 

" A card from the Duke of Saltburn Lord 
Petersham" 

" Oh ! I must ask the old fellow if he is 
accustomed to sitting next to his butcher on the 
Board of Public Kitchens ! Who next, Gwen ? " 

" There is your pet aversion, Joe Watson, with 
solicitous inquiries." 

30? 



The Storm of London 

" Gwen, I misjudged the old draper. There is a 
deal of good behind his insular self-conscious- 
ness." 

"Ha! ha! ha! Little Montagu Vane came to 
ask how you were ! " 

" Beg pardon, Miss," broke in the conscientious 
valet, " Mr Vane never came himself, he sent 
round a messenger boy." 

" Oh ! how good, just like him," said Lionel ; " he 
is a dilettante even in sympathy, and prefers to 
get his information indirectly." 

" There are letters from Mrs Webster, from Mrs 
Archibald." 

"What can they want?" interrupted the 
patient. "These letters are of no earthly use; 
the first wants my subscription for some charity 
fraud, the second needs my name for some social 
parade. Throw them in the waste-paper 
basket." 

" Mrs Pottinger also sent her card," went on 
Gwen, as she dropped the cards and letters one by 
one on the table. 

" Excuse me, Miss," again said Temple, " I 
forgot to say that Mrs Pottinger came to inquire 
every day ; and yesterday she left a small parcel 
which I put on the hall table." 

"Let us see what she says on her card," and 
Gwen read the following words : " 'Mrs Pottinger 
308 



The Storm of London 

hopes that Lord Somerville will accept and use the 
small pocket battery which accompanies this card. 
One of the most renowned New York surgeons has 
invented this wonderful brain restorer, and Mrs P. 
trusts Lord Somerville will give the discovery a 
fair trial, and that he will patronise the inventor 
and the invention.'" 

" My first and only call will be on Mrs David 
Pottinger ! " exclaimed Lionel, sitting up in his bed. 
" We shall see her yet presiding at the Palace of 
Happiness, and leading by the hand the American 
Seer," 

" Is my lord worse, Miss ? " gravely inquired the 
valet, as he leaned towards Gwen. 

" No, Temple, your master has never been in 
better spirits, nor has he ever been so clear in his 
mind. But it is what can I call it? a joke 
between us, and no one besides ourselves can 
understand it." 

" My good Temple," echoed Lionel, with a joyous 
ring in his voice, "it is a conundrum which we are 
trying to guess. We have already made out the 
first part of the riddle, but the second will be more 
difficult, for it will consist in making you see the 
joke, Temple." 

"Oh! my lord, I always was a bad hand at 
guessing." 

" Ev'n News ! Probable date of th' Coronation ! " 
309 



The Storm of London 

The hurried footsteps passed in front of Selby 
House. 

" What does that mean, Gwen ? Is not the 
Coronation over by this time ? " 

" My poor boy, of course you do not know the 
news ! Many things have happened since that 
night when you shot yourself. The war is over 
thank goodness that is a thing of the past ! But 
the royal tragedy-comedy was never acted. You 
shall read for yourself." And Gwen went to fetch 
a bundle of newspapers and illustrated journals 
that lay on a console. 

" 'Ooligan murderer sentenced ! " Again the 
hurried steps passed in the street. 

Lionel read on and on, thrilled at the perusal of 
dailies and weeklies. 

"The strangest of events brought the curtain 
down on our social pantomime. Quite as strange 
as the storm of London. If only it brought 
England to its senses I would not lament over the 
disappointment of the public." 

" I doubt whether England will take the hint," 
said Gwen. 

" This is all very strange, dearest Gwen, but still 
no stranger than my visions ; and if it is true that 
' we are such stuff as dreams are made of,' we can 
yet hope that our Society will save itself in 
time." 

310 



The Storm of London 

The handle of the door was turned and Sir 
Edward walked in. 

" Hullo ! already reading, my dear Lord 
Somerville ! You are a wonderful patient, and we 
shall see you in the Row before long." Taking 
Lionel's hand he felt his pulse. " That's right, you 
are better, and you will soon resume your duties 
at Court. The King was inquiring after you the 
other day." 

" Very kind of him, I am sure, Sir Edward. I 
am sorry to disappoint you, but as soon as I can 
I shall start on a long journey, and England will 
not see me for many years." 

" My dear Lord Somerville," and Sir Edward 
held his patient's pulse firmly within his slender 
fingers, "we cannot spare you from London; 
besides which, this devoted young nurse cannot 
allow you to abandon her in this way." 

" I shall accompany Lord Somerville wherever 
he goes," proudly said Gwen. 

Sir Edward laid his patient's hand gently on 
the bed and put back his watch into his waistcoat 
pocket. 

" I never doubted for one instant that you 
would, Miss Towerbridge, but Lord Somerville has 
his duties to his King and to Society ; and it would 
be quite unnecessary to take a long voyage when 
I can vouch for his speedy recovery, and can 



The Storm of London 

promise that he shall take part in the pro- 
cession." 

"My dear Sir Edward, I am so sorry to 
disappoint you again, but the royal procession 
will not include my unworthy person, nor shall I 
witness the royal pageant. It may be bad taste 
on my part, but I resign all my duties at Court 
from to-day. As to social duties they only 
existed in our imaginations, and the sooner we 
emancipate ourselves from such bondage the 
better. Besides, my dear Sir Edward, who knows 
whether there will be a Coronation ? " 

" You are tired, dear friend " the physician laid 
his hand on Lionel's brow. " You have done far 
too much in one day, and need rest. But I will 
tell you just to put your mind at ease, that the 
date of the Coronation is fixed. I met the Lord 
Chamberlain an hour ago, and he informed me 
that we may look forward at an early date to our 
Sovereign's public apotheosis." 

" Always the same incorrigible snobbery." 
Lionel heaved a long sigh and lay back on his 
pillow. " My poor Sir Edward, England has 
missed the opportunity it ever had of learning a 
lesson ; and we are ambling back to Canterbury 
on a Chaucerian cob." 

"Dear Miss Towerbridge" Sir Edward came 
close to Gwen and spoke in a whisper " I am 
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The Storm of London 

afraid Lord Somerville is not yet out of the wood. 
I notice symptoms of the recurring fever. If by 
ten o'clock this evening the patient has not com- 
pletely recovered his senses, call for me; for I fear 
the case will then be very grave, and one that will 
need the greatest care." 

" Do not worry about him, dear Sir Edward," 
said Gwen, smiling her most bewitching smile. 
" Lord Somerville will never recover what you call 
his senses, and as soon as he can be taken away 
with safety we shall start for the Continent." 

" Good gracious ! you do not realise what con- 
dition he is in! And what about your father? 
What about Society ? You are very self-sacrific- 
ing, but you are reckless. Pray let me advise you, 
my dear young lady." 

"We shall start as soon as Lionel can be 
moved," firmly answered Gwen. 

" Yes, dear Sir Edward," added Lionel, looking 
wistfully at the surgeon ; " but we shall keep you 
posted up as to our whereabouts." 

" And we shall always sympathise with you in 
your tragic state of overclothing," playfully said 
Gwen. 

"My last words to you, Miss Towerbridge," 
sententiously spoke Sir Edward, as he stiffly 
bowed farewell, "are these: You will very soon 
regret your rash enterprise." 



The Storm of London 

The surgeon went slowly out of the door, which 
he closed behind him with a sharp click ; and as 
he crossed the hall he muttered between his 
teeth, " It is the first time I have seen an absolute 
case of contagious insanity." 



THE END 



COLSTON AND COY. LIMITED, PRINTERS, EDINBURGH 



CURTIS YORKE'S Latest Novels 

OLIVE KIN5ELLA - - (Shortly) 6/- 

DELPHINE - (Fourth Edition) 6/- 

THE GIRL IN GREY - - (Fifth Edition) 6/- 
A FLIRTATION WITH TRUTH (New Edition) 3/6 



THE PRESS ON CURTIS YORKE 



The Times. "Curtis Yorke, in her many novels, has a happy gift for 
portraying the tender emotions. . . . There is always a charm about Curtis 
Yorke's books partly because she has the gift of natural, sympathetic 
dialogue." 

Saturday Review. ' ' The novels of Curtis Yorke are too well known 
to need introduction. They have already their own public. They are 
bright, lively and vivacious." 

Morning Post. " Whether grave or gay, the author is a raconteur 
whose imagination and vivacity are unfailing. Few, moreover, have in the 
same degree the versatility which enables him to provoke peals of laughter 
and move almost to tears. . . . The writer is natural, realistic and 
entertaining." 

Spectator. "Curtis Yorke always writes bright and readable novels." 
Literature. "A powerful book, as are all Curtis Yorke's novels." 

Scotsman. "The name of Curtis Yorke must always command respect 
in the minds of all novel readers." 

Sheffield Independent. " A writer of uncommon power and promise." 

Literary World. "There are few novels that are at the same time 
so passionate and so perfectly harmless as those of Curtis Yorke." 

The Bookman. " Curtis Yorke's reputation for talent and vigour as 
a storyteller is already established." 

Manchester Courier. "Curtis Yorke's work has been marked from 
the first with singular insight into poor human nature, with tolerance to- 
wards the ugly and inevitable ills that spoil this beautiful world, and with 
literary ability of a high order." 

Glasgow Herald. "One naturally expects from this writer a wholly 
enjoyable story." 

Star. "Curtis Yorke writes with a sure touch. She never deviates 
from a path of pure naturalness." 



London: JOHN LONG, 13 & 14 Norris St., Haymarket 

And at all the Libraries and Booksellers 



MARY E, MANN'S GREAT NOVEL 

IN SUMMER SHADE 

By MARY E. MANN 

Author of 
"The Mating of a Dove," "Olivia's Summer," etc. 



Crown 8vo, cloth gilt, 6s. 

OPINIONS OF THE PRESS 

Morning Post. ' ' For human interest and bright vivacity of 
dialogue ' In Summer Shade ' is not likely to find many rivals 
among works of the same class." 

Speaker. " Mrs Mann has given us a thoroughly readable and 
decidedly clever story, marked by humour, satires and tender- 
ness." 

Daily Chronicle. "The scene between husband and wife is 
one of the strongest and most restrained pieces of dramatic work 
we have seen for quite a long while." 

Standard. "A strong dramatic interest and a really excellent 
love story." 

Daily Graphic." Not only a very charming tale in itself, but 
it is excellently told." 

Bookman. "In very few recent novels will there be found 
anything approaching its grasp of character and firmness of touch. 
Her characters are not made of ink and paper, but of flesh and 
blood." 

Graphic. "A very charming story indeed. . . . The large - 
natured Mary will live in the memory as the most delightful of 
heroines. ... A thoroughly lifelike novel which can be enjoyed 
with the mind as well as with the sympathies." 

Spectator. "Mrs Mann certainly gives us an effective tale. 
Mary's self-devotion on her sister's behalf makes a powerful 
incident and leads up to a denouement of much dramatic power." 



London : JOHN LONG, 13 & 14 NorrisSt., Haymarket 
And at all the Libraries and Booksellers 



READY SHORTLY 



GUY BOOTHBY'S ENTHRALLING NEW ROMANCE 

IN SPITE OF THE CZAR 

By GUY BOOTHBY 



Crown 8vo, Bevelled Boards, - - Price 53. 

With Eight Full-page Half-tone Illustrations on 
Art Paper by LEONARD LINSDELL 



THE name of Guy Boothby is one to conjure 
with. In this fine tissue of romance and 
realism, we have a wide range both in scenery and 
in incident. The invention of "Velvet Coat" as 
a distinctive sobriquet is an original idea, and 
whether in an English country mansion, on the St 
Petersburg pavements, or at Irkutsk, or in any other 
of the scenes so well painted, we are carried on 
from page to page with breathless expectation. All 
sorts and conditions of men, and of women too, 
cross the stage of this fresh drama, and it is full 
of exactly what delights the jaded reader after 
turning from third-rate romance namely the Un- 
expected. 



London: JOHN LONG, 13 & M Norris St., Haymarket 

And at all the Libraries and Booksellers 



MAY CROMMELIN'S 

POPULAR NOVELS 



Crown 8vo, cloth gilt, price 6s. each 



PHCEBE OF THE WHITE FARM {Shortly 

ONE PRETTY MAID AND OTHERS 
CRIMSON LILIES BETTINA KINSAH 

THE LUCK OF A LOWLAND LADDIE 

A WOMAN DERELICT PARTNERS THREE 

A DAUGHTER OF ENGLAND 



World. " Miss May Crommelin has a keen eye for the 
picturesque, and her books glow with local colour. She is 
known as an agreeable novelist, and has a breezy style which 
carries the reader pleasantly along." 

Spectator. "Miss May Crommelin brings to her task the pen 
of a trained writer. She has a wonderful eye for colour, and 
excels in seizing the dominant notes of street scenes or mountain 
landscapes. " 

Graphic. "Miss May Crommelin is not one to do otherwise 
than well." 

Bookman. " Miss May Crommelin at her best is very good 
indeed. At her worst she is at least up to the average." 

Daily News. " Miss May Crommelin gives us a great deal for 
our money. She has a great gift of language, as well as an un- 
failing capacity for invention." 

Speaker. "Miss May Crommelin tells a story well. Her 
work has especially a dramatic distinctness which makes us feel 
that her characters are not merely manipulated on paper, but 
are realised in the imagination." 

Literary World. " Miss May Crommelin can at all events 
never be accused of heaviness or dulness. ... A writer who 
does not spare pains either in regard to characterisation or com- 
position." 

Queen. " Miss May Crommelin has the double qualification 
of being a good travel-writer and a clever novelist." 



London : JOHN LONG, 13 & 14 Norris St., Haymarket 

And at all the Libraries and Booksellers 



JUST PUBLISHED. 

GUY BOOTHBY'S NEW ROMANCE 

A Bride from the Sea 

By GUY BOOTHBY 

Author of 4 'Dr Nikola," "A Cabinet Secret," 
"The Lady of the Island, etc. 



Crown 8vo, bevelled boards, price 5s. 

With Eight full-page half-tone Illustrations on Art Paper 
by A. TALBOT SMITH 



THIS romance is, in the opinion of those who 
have been privileged to read it in M.S., 
Mr Guy Boothby's best and most sensational tale, 
and is probably the longest story the author has 
written. The hero is Gilbert Penniston, a Devon 
worthy; time, a year after the Armada, and the 
motif, his ardent love for a very beautiful Spanish 
girl, saved from shipwreck. Jealousy, plottings, 
duels and many totally unexpected sensations, 
carry the reader on enthralled and breathless to 
the last page. The local colouring is excellent, 
and the value of the romance is enhanced by 
Mr A. Talbot Smith's splendid and realistic 
illustrations. 



London: JOHN LONG, 13 & 14 Norris St., Haymarket 

And at all the Libraries and Booksellers 



Mrs LOVETT CAMERON'S 

POPULAR NOVELS 



Crown 8vo, cloth gilt, 6s. each 



BITTER FRUIT ROSAMOND GRANT {Shortly 
REMEMBRANCE MIDSUMMER MADNESS 
AN ILL WIND THE CRAZE OF CHRISTINA 
A FAIR FRAUD A DIFFICULT MATTER 
A PASSING FANCY A WOMAN'S " NO " 



Morning Post. " Mrs Lovett Cameron is one of the best story-tellers of 
the day, and her pages are so full of life and movement that not one of them 
is willingly skipped." 

Daily News. " Mrs Lovett Cameron's stories are always bright, vivacious 
and entertaining. They are very pleasantly human, and have, withal, a 
charming freshness and vigour." 

Daily Telegraph. "Mrs Lovett Cameron is a fertile and fluent story- 
teller, and an uncommonly clever woman." 

Guardian " Mrs Lovett Cameron's novels are among the most readable 
of the day. She has a wonderful eye for a situation, so her stories move with 
a swing that is all their own." 

Pall Mall Gazette. ''Mrs Lovett Cameron, in her novels, is always 
readable and always fresh." 

Speaker. " Mrs Lovett Cameron possesses the invaluable gift of never 
allowing her readers to become bored." 

Academy. "Mrs Lovett Cameron exhibits power, writes with vivacity, 
and elaborates her plots skilfully." 

Bookman. "Mrs Lovett Cameron has gained for herself a circle of 
admirers, who take up any new book of hers with a certain eagerness and 
confidence." 

Vanity Fair. " Mrs Lovett Cameron needs no introduction to the novel 
reader, and, indeed, has her public ready to her hand as soon as her books 
come out.' 

Black and White. "We have a few writers whose books arouse in us 
certain expectations which are always fulfilled. Such a writer is Mrs Lovett 
Cameron." 



London : JOHN LONG, 13 & 14 Norris St., Haymarket 

And at all the Libraries and Booksellers 



MR. JOHN LONG'S 

AUTUMN AND NEW YEAR ANNOUNCEMENTS 



1904-1905 



JOHN LONG'S POPULAR NOVELS 

MR. JOHN LONG has much pleasure in announcing the publication of 
the following important New Novels, several of which are now ready. 



Six Shillings each 



THE MASK* 

THE STORM OF LONDON 

BLIND POLICY . 

THE AMBASSADOR'S GLOVE . 

LADY SYLVIA . 

THE WATERS OF OBLIVION . 

AN INDEPENDENT MAIDEN . 

THE BOOK OF ANGELUS DRAYTON 

RONALD LINDSAY 

LINKS OF LOVE . 

MERELY A NEGRESS . 

THE TEMPTATION OF ANTHONY 

LITTLE WIFE HESTER . 

THE NIGHT OF RECKONING . 

ROSAMOND GRANT 

THE SECRET PASSAGE . 

CONFESSIONS OF A YOUNG LADY 

THE FATE OF FELIX . 

LOVE AND TWENTY 

HIS REVERENCE THE RECTOR 

LORD EVERSLEIGH'S SINS 

THE INFORMER . 

THE FACE IN THE FLASHLIGHT 

THE WAR OF THE SEXES 

COUNT REMINY . 

THE PROVINCIALS 

A BOND OF SYMPATHY 

STRAINED ALLEGIANCE 

OLIVE KINSELLA 

BENBONUNA 

FROM THE CLUTCH OF THE SEA 

THE CAVERN OF LAMENTS (8 Illusts. 

LORD OF HIMSELF 

MADEMOISELLE NELLIE 

IN SPITE OF THE CZAR (S Illusts., 6s ) 



WILLIAM LE QDEUX 

F. DICKBERRY 

GEORGE MANVILLE FENN 

ROBERT MACHRAY 

LUCAS CLEEVE 

ADELINE SERGEANT 

ADELINE SERGEANT 

MRS. FRED REYNOLDS 

MAY WYNNE 

DACRE HINDLE 

STUART YOUNG 

ALICE M. DIEHL 

L. T. MEADE 

FRANK BARRETT 

MRS. LOVETT CAMERON 

FERGUS HUME 

RICHARD MARSH 

MRS. COULSON KKRNAHAN 

JOHN STRANGE WINTER 

SARAH TYTLER 

VIOLET TWEEDALE 

FRED WHISHAW 

FLORENCE WARDEN 

F. E. YOUNG 

JEAN MIDDLEMASS 

LADY HELEN FORBES 

COLONEL ANDREW HAGGARD 

R. H. FORSTER 

CURTIS YORKE 

ROBERT BRUCE 

J. E. MUDDOCK 

CATHERINE E. MALLANDAINE 

MRS. AYLMER COWING 

LUCAS CLEEVE 

GUY BOOTHBY 



6^= Descriptive />ara0rapfts of these Novels will be 
found inshlf 

* Originally announced as ' Both of this Parish,' a title claimed by another author. 



JOHN LONG, 13 & 14, Norris Street, Haymarket, London 



Ir. 3oDn 0119'$ Dw $ forthcoming Books 



THE MASK. By WILLIAM LE QUEUX 

This extraordinary tale plunges the reader at the first word Into a mystery 
so deep, a story so vital, that one reads page after page in the spirit that holds 
the reader of, for example, ' Treasure Island,' though the story is not a story of 
some distant and undiscovered shore. True, there are a treasure and a treasure- 
hunter. True, there are wreckers, traitors, villains. True, there are youth, 
innocence, beauty. But all these belong, not to the high seas, but to the restless 
tide of human life and love which seethes and boils on this dry land of England 
now. There is something in the author's work which allies him with Dumas, 
with Victor Hugo, with the weaver of the legends of the ' Arabian Nights.' He 
holds you ; he fascinates you. He brings the breath of old-time romance down 
to the HERE and the NOW. 

THE STORM OF LONDON. By F. DICKBERRY 

'Have you read "The Storm of London"?' is the question which will be on 
the lips of everyone. No novel published within recent times is comparable with 
it for audacity. It is described as a social rhapsody, and the author certainly 
portrays with no flattering pen the worse side of high-class society. But it is 
something more. It is a work of imagination, daringly original, and set boldly 
in a frame of modern realism. Tet there is no sadness in the book only laughter. 
The author possesses rare courage and discretion, and his story can give no 
offence to any reader with the saving gift of humour. Again we ask, ' Have you 
read " The Storm of London " 

BLIND POLICY. By GEORGE MANVILLE FENN 

Daring in conception, masterly In execution, and strong in real human 
interest is Mr. George Manville Fenn's new story, which deals with the amazing 
doings of fashionable London life. That such things can be seems almost past 
belief, and yet, given the actual circumstances, and the consequences are per- 
fectly natural. The feminine interest is particularly strong In this particularly 
strong story. 

THE AMBASSADOR'S GLOYE. By ROBERT MACHRAY 

Mr. Robert Machray's plots are conceived with an ingenuity that baffles the 
most practised reader. 'The Ambassador's Glove' is a story of a formidable 
domestic conspiracy in which the Foreign Office, the Secret Service, and a 
peculiar society called The Brotherhood, are involved in a battle royal. The 
weapons employed are abduction, assassination, and blackmail. It is a story 
that cannot fail to go into many editions. 

LADY SYLVIA. By LUCAS CLEEVE 

The chief characteristics of ' Lady Sylvia ' are passion and intelligence. It is 
a story of the eternal conflict between love and duty, and is rendered the more 
powerful because it is written with the consummate mastery which is now 
associated with the name of Lucas Cleeve. 

THE WATERS OF OBLIVION. By ADELINE SERGEANT 

Miss Adeline Sergeant is a writer who has endeared herself to countless 
thousands of novel-roaders. Her books are always human, and she believes in 
happy endings, but the way is set with temptations and storms and difficulties 
before the haven is finally reached. In her new story, ' The Waters of Oblivion,' 
Miss Sergeant displays all her old qualities, and it must create for her a host of 
new friends. 

AN INDEPENDENT MAIDEN. By ADELINE SERGEANT 

In Mis'; Sergeant's new story will be found all those essentials which have 
made her name a household word in the realms of fiction, and readers of the 
present work will be delighted to make the acquaintance of so charming and 
sympathetic a heroine as Dulcie. 



JOHN LONG, 13 & 14, Norris Street, Haymarket, London 



D)r. Jopti onfl's IKIP $ forthcoming Books 

THE BOOK OF ANGELUS DRAYTON. By MRS. FRED 

REYNOLDS 

' The Book of Angelus Drayton ' is not a novel set to the ordinary tune. 
There is a plot, indeed, and one that no one can read without sympathetic interest ; 
there is comedy and tragedy in it. But the chief note of the book is its charm- 
its charm of subject, its charm of treatment, and its charm of style. It is a story 
of the country, and to all who love the sights and sounds of the country it will 
appeal with irresistible strength. It leads the reader through the changing 
seasons of the year, and of them all It has something significant to say in the 
manner of a poet. It Is not only a book to be read : it la a book to be bought and 
read and re-read. 

RONALD LINDSAY. By MAY WYNNE, Author of For Faith 
and Navarre ' 

This is an historical romance of the period of the Scotch Covenanters, and the 
background is filled with the fascinating though sinister figure of Graham of 
Glaverhouse. The book will delight all who have a feeling for the picturosque- 
ness of bygone days. 

LINKS OP LOYE. By DACRE HINDLE 

Two adventurous young men on pleasure bent succeed in convoying two 
charming girls, with their unsuspecting chaperon, to the hotel where the heroes 
of this fascinating romance of ihe Riviera are to stay. Realism is happily 
blended with a delightful romance which promises to be one of the most amusing 
of the season. 

MERELY A NEGRESS. By STUART YOUNG 

Mr. Stuart Young's ' Merely a Negress ' is new and original insomuch that it 
deals with the problem of the marriage of an Englishman and a Negress. The 
author treats his subject tactfully, and dwells upon the incompatibility, as well 
as upon the emotional sympathy of the senses. There is candour in the book, 
and yet restraint. As a new experiment in fiction, Mr. Stuart Young's book 
deserves to be received with careful attention. 

THE TEMPTATION OP ANTHONY. By ALICE M. DIEHL 

The name of Alice M. Diehl is a guarantee for vividly-coloured and present-day 
society presentments, veined with romance and exciting incident. 'The Tempta- 
tion of Anthony ' will certainly take high rank among the lively and delightful 
novels by this well-known writer. Her portrait of Eve (Lady Waring) is a 
masterpiece in true and delicate female delineation. The story of Eve's trial 
and sufferings should appeal to every reader. 

LITTLE WIFE HESTER. By L. T. MEADE 

L. T. Meade's new story, 'Little Wife Hester,' is concerned with the practices 
of Dr. Greenhill, a fashionable London physician, who effects marvellous cures 
by means of hypnotism. Her method is too well known to require description 
or eulogy. The story is written with great fluency, and 'Little Wife Hester' 
will add another to Mrs. Meade's many laurels. 

THE NIGHT OP RECKONING. By FRANK BARRETT 

'The Night of Reckoning' is a story of Doris, a young girl who, being left 
alone in the world, becomes the sport of relatives, who to rob her of her heritage 
do not shrink from the committal of the blackest crimes. But Doris has good 
as well as bad fairies to watch over her. All who like a rousing novel full of 
sensation and presented with an air of authenticity will greatly enjoy Mr. Frank 
Barrett's new book. It places him at the head of the few writers of good dramatic 
fiction. 

JOHN LONG, 13 & 14, Norris Street, Haymarket, London 



lr. 3ol>n 0119'$ Dcu) $ Forthcoming Books 



ROSAMOND GRANT. By MRS. LOVETT CAMERON 

'Rosamond Grant' is the story of a woman's life of her illusions, emotions, 
hopes, regrets and mistakes. It is a theme admirably suited to Mrs. Lovett 
Cameron's method. Her characters aro human to a degree, and the charm lies 
in their refreshing originality and their bright and entertaining vivacity. The 
story will make many new friends for this delightful and sympathetic writer. 

THE SECRET PASSAGE. By FERGUS HUME 

Since Mr. Fergus Hume became famous as the writer of the 'Mystery of a 
Hansom Gab,' he has steadily progressed in public favour, and is now regarded 
as a veritable master of strategy in fiction. The reader who takes up one of his 
books may depend upon finding an enthralling story and a plot of baffling 
ingenuity. In his new work Mr. Fergus Hume's unusual gifts are displayed in 
their maturity. ' The Secret Passage ' is, perhaps, the author's best book. 

CONFESSIONS OF A YOUNG LADY. By RICHARD MARSH, 
Author of The Beetle,' etc. 

Mr. Richard Marsh belongs to the younger generation of writers of fiction, 
and he can hold his own with the most brilliant of them. His qualities are 
originality of invention, a command over the weird and mysterious, a clear, 
straightforward narrative, and a bizarre humour, all the more telling because it 
flashes at unexpected moments across the page. In his new book, ' The Confes- 
sions of a Young Lady,' Mr. Richard Marsh's remarkable powers are strikingly 
en evidence. It shows him at his best in the plenitude of his varied moods. The 
book will add much to the author's popularity. 

THE FATE OF FELIX. By MRS. COULSON KERNAHAN 

The general reader loves a mystery. Mrs. Coulson Kernahan is evidently 
well aware of the fact, and caters for her public accordingly. In ' Devastation ' 
she took the reader into her confidence in the beginning ; in ' The Fate of Felix ' 
she keeps her secret to the end. This book has a most amazing plot, and has a 
love-story running through it of a very unusual description. 

LOYE AND TWENTY. By JOHN STRANGE WINTER 

The qualities that created for John Strange Winter her immense popularity 
are pre-eminently conspicuous in ' Love and Twenty. ' The book shows that the 
author can wield the pen with all her old mastery. There is the same richness 
of invention, the same simplicity of manner, the same warmth of colouring, and 
the same tender pathos. No woman writer indeed can contest John Strange 
Winter's supremacy in her own dominion. 

HIS REYERENCE THE RECTOR. By SARAH TYTLER 

Miss Sarah Tytler's new book deals with the personalities of an old-world 
type of county family, and incidentally discusses some semi -political questions 
and the problems of village life. Yet there is no lack of story, which is carefully 
constructed, written with the author's accustomed polish, and may bo recom- 
mended as among the best of the works of fiction penned by this thoughtful writer. 

LORD EYERSLEIGH'S SINS. By VIOLET TWEEDALE 

The love affairs of a modern peer best describes Violet Tweedale's new book. 
It is a wonderfully strong story, is written with great cogence, and displays a 
grasp of character and a power of expression immensely in advance of anything 
the author has previously effected. In this novel the author has ' found ' herself. 



THE INFORMER. By FRED WHISHAW 



Mr. Fred Whishaw here presents a convincing picture of an honest Russian 
official who, opposed to the apostles of violence and bloodshed in his unhappy 
country, finds himself in a position which grows hateful to him. So realistic are 
many of the incidents in this Romance of the Discontented, that the reader will 
probably come to the conclusion, perhaps a correct one, that Mr. Fred Whishaw 
has drawn upon actual facts rather than upon his unassisted imagination. 



JOHN LONG, 13 & 14, Norris Street, Haymarket, London 



ir, Joftii 0119'$ Pcu> $ Forthcoming Books 

THE FACE IN THE FLASHLIGHT. By FLORENCE WARDEN 

Miss Florence Warden's new novel comprises a powerful study of the evils 
of gambling. The villain of the piece a portrait drawn with great subtlety 
and skill murders a dissipated youth to whom he acts as tutor, and attempts 
the life of his wife in order to gratify his passion for gambling. The story would 
be noteworthy if only for the presentation of 'Mattie,' who witnesses the crime, 
and yet is powerless to prevent the marriage of her friend with the murderer. 
The book is original and forceful, and the lover of fiction who omits ita perusal 
will ' only have himself to blame.' 

THE WAR OF THE SEXES. By F. E. YOUNG, Author 

of The Triumph of Jill,' ' A Dangerous Quest,' etc. 

It is safo to predict for Miss Young's new story a phenomenal success, for 
it contains those qualities of the unexpected which straightway stamp a book. 
The story portrays the condition of affairs some thousands of years hence, 
when the male species, with a solitary exception, has become extinct. The 
authoress keeps her imagination within bounds, and the chief note of the book 
is its great good-humour. A delightful vein of satire winds its way through its 
pages, and the general effect can on'y be the unrestrained amusement which is 
wrought by high-class comedy. 

COUNT REMINY. By JEAN MIDDLEMASS 

Tho name of Miss Jean Middlemass is a household word in the region of novel- 
readers. Her stories are conceived with great fertility of resource, and executed 
with the dexterity of the practised pen. Her new novel, 'Count Reminy, is, 
perhaps, the brightest of her many works of fiction. It relates the story of a 
girl engaged to a man who cares only for her fortune ; how she meets and falls 
In love with another man, and how her fiance is mysteriously murdered. In the 
result, after sundry complications, all Is well, and the book is bound to please 
the many readers of this popular favourite. 

THE PROVINCIALS. By LADY HELEN FORBES, Author of 
' His Eminence,' ' The Outcast Emperor,' etc. 

Lady Helen Forbes gives us in her new book a story of society, though not of 
'smart' society. 'The Provincials' are a wealthy county family whose wealth 
entitles them to be leaders of society, but they prefer the life of the country. 
The authoress is well at home among her characters, and her vivacity and sense 
of humour invest the plot with real interest. Some vivid pictures of hunting help 
tho reader along. ' The Provincials ' may be deemed a landmark in Lady Helen 
Forbes' career as a novelist, and shows that hor work will have to be reckoned 
with. 

A BOND OF SYMPATHY. By COLONEL ANDREW HAGGARD 

Lieut. Col. Andrew Haggard may be said to possess one, at least, of the gifts 
of his distinguished brother, the author of ' She 'the art of telling a story. In 
his new book he proves, also, that he has a happy knack of invention and a good 
eye for dramatic situations. There is an abundance of stirring adventure, and 
there is an atmosphere that will inevitably appeal to the sporting reader ; 
indeed, the book is written by a true sportsman. It is full of high spirits, and 
will be greatly appreciated by those who like breezy, good-natured and healthy 
fiction. 

STRAINED ALLEGIANCE. By R. H. FORSTER, Author of 
'The Last Foray,' ' In Steel and Leather,' etc. 

This is a story of the rebellion of 1715 of the struggle between the Jacobites 
and the Hanoverians, which culminated in the Battle of Preston. The hero 
is entrapped into an apparent- support of the Jacobite cause, notwithstanding 
that his sympathies are with the Hanoverians, and his attempts to escape from 
his captors serve as the background for many exciting scenes and romantic 
incidents, and for a charming love idyll. 

JOHN LONG, 13 & 14, Norris Street, Haymarket, London 



lr. 3oftn Cong's DCID $ forthcoming Books 

OLIYE KINSELLA. By CURTIS YORKE, Author of Delphine,' 
' The Girl in Grey ' 

The name of Curtis Yorke is one to conjure with among all lovors of good 
fiction, for she possesses the higher gifts of the novelist -imagination, distinction, 
humour. She can play upon the emotions, from grave to gay, from lively to 
severe, with the consummate touch of a master. Her new book must fulfil the 
anticipations of her best admirers, for ' Olive Kinaella ' Is a fine story, finely 
conceived, and finely told. 

BENBONUNA. By ROBERT BRUCE 

In 'Benbonuna' we have a tale written In the easy, forceful, simple style 
that must appeal to lovers of adventure. The wild, strenuous, daring life of the 
Australian Bush is described with the fidelity of portraiture. Those who know 
nothing of this strange, silent land, where many of the laws of nature seem to be 
reversed, will find much to enlighten, as well as much to entertain them. The 
book is essentially for readers with strong minds and broad sympathies. 

FROM THE CLUTCH OF THE SEA. By J. E. MUDDOCK 

A book by this well-known and favourite author is always sure of a public, 
and it may safely be predicted that ' From the Clutch of the Sea' will be eagerly 
sought after. The opening, which describes a wreck on the Devonshire coast, 
is written with such a graphic pen that the terrible and thrilling scene is brought 
vividly before the mind's eye. The characters are pulsing human beings, and 
the story is indeed worthy the reputation of the veteran author. 

THE CAYERN OF LAMENTS. By CATHERINE E. MALLAN- 

DAINE. Illustrated 

'The Cavern of Laments, 1 derives its title from a weird cavern in Sark, and 
the main incidents of the story revolve round that picturesque island and its 
old-world people. The scenery it traverses, and the people whose lives and 
loves it depicts, have this merit that they are fresh and unhackneyed. Indeed, 
the note of the book is its strength and originality. The crux of the story is the 
marriage of Ceclle and Breakspeare, brought about by a dishonourable act, and 
its sequel. The writing is powerful throughout, and the publisher believes that 
every reader will be grateful for the opportunity of perusing a novel possessing 
unusual qualities. 

LORD OF HIMSELF. By MRS. AYLMER COWING 

The moneyless heir to a peerage wins the Newdigate Prize at Oxford, and 
also, as he believes, a beautiful and dangerous woman who has saved his life. 
Betrayed by her, he fights his way, like a man, against all odds, a delightful 
young princess of ideal type being his good angel. A strong vein of humour 
carries the reader through an intricate plot, while vivid pictures of Oxford life 
lend colour to a stirring story. 

MADEMOISELLE NELLIE. By LUCAS CLEEVE 

There are few novelists whose works deserve more respectful consideration 
than those of Lucas Cleeve. She has written stories of a high order, but she has 
never surpassed in interest or in power her new book ' Mademoiselle Nellie.' It 
is a story of English and French life, and offers a careful study of the differing 
characteristics of the two peoples. The book abounds in felicitous phrases, in 
dramatic moments, and in deft touches of pathos. 

IN SPITE OF THE CZAR. By GUY BOOTHBY, Author of 

1 Dr. Nikola,' etc. With 8 Illustrations. 55. 

In this fine tissue of romance and realism we have a wide range both in 
scenery and in incident. The invention of ' Velvet Coat ' as a distinctive sobriquet 
is an original idea, and whether in an English country mansion, on the St. Peters- 
burg pavements, or at Irkutsk, or in any other of the scenes so woll painted, we 
are carried on from page to page with breathless expectation. All sorts and 
conditions of men, and of women, too, cross the stage of this fresh drama, and it 
is full of exactly what delights the Jaded reader after turning from third-rate 
romance namely, the unexpected. 

JOHN LONG, 13 & 14, Norris Street, Haymarket, London 



lr. ;joi)i! long's new $ f orilKomina Books 



TWO SHILLING NOVELS. Picture Boards, Crown Bvo. 

DEAD CERTAINTIES . NATHANIEL GUBBINS 

ALL THE WINNERS . . . NATHANIEL GUBBINS 



ONE SHILLING NOVELS. Pictorial Paper Covers 

THE MYSTERY OF FOUR WAYS . FLORENCE WARDEN, Author of ' The House 

on the Marsh ' 



GENERAL LITERATURE 

MATILDA, COUNTESS OF TUSCANY. MRS. MARY E. HUDDY. 

Demy 8vo., with Illustrations, 128. net. 

In these picturesque pages we have, in a manner, the processional march of the early 
Norman soldier settlers tn the land of the Olive, and we have also the extraordinary 
career set forth in that heroic daughter of the Roman Church, Matilda, the great 
Countess of Tuscany, who devoted her whole life and vast fortune to sustaining against 
all comers the temporal rights of Holy Mother Church. Pope Gregory the Seventh, 
Godfrey, the Hunchback Duke, and Henry IV., the ambitious German Emperor, and 
many other famous characters, move across these vivid pages in their habits and as they 
really lived. No life of the Great Countess, Matilda of Tuscany, has yet appeared in 
this country. 

SIR WALTER RALEGH (A Drama) . ROBERT SOUTH, Author of ' The Divine Aretino,' 

Crown 8vo., Cloth Gilt, 3s. 6d. net. 
HER OWN ENEMY (A Play) . . . HARRIET L. CHILDE-PEMBERTON 

Crown 8vo., Cloth Gilt, 2s. 6d. net. 



JOHN LONG'S LIBRARY OF MODERN CLASSICS 

A series of great works of fiction by modern authors. Not pocket editions, but large, hand- 
some, and fully-illustrated volumes for the bookshelf, printed in large type on the best paper. 
Biographical Introductions and Photogravure Portraits. Size, 8 in. by sJ in.; thickness, ij in. 
Prices : Cloth Gilt, 2s. net each ; Leather, Gold Blocked and Silk Marker, 3s. net each. 
Volumes Now Ready. 



THE THREE CLERKS 

THE CLOISTER AND THE HEARTH 

THE WOMAN IN WHITE . . 

ADAM BEDE 

THE HISTORY OF HENRY ESMOND 
WESTWARD HO ! . 



(480 pp. 
(672 pp. 
(576 PP- 
(480 pp. 



ANTHONY TROLLOPE 
CHAKI.ES READB 
WILKIE COLLINS 
GEORGE ELIOT 



^432 pp.) W. M. THACKERAY 
,600 pp.) CHARLES KINGSLEY 



In Preparation-TOM BROWN'S SCHOOLDAYS. Other Volumes to /allow. 
1 John Long's Library of Modern Classics is astonishingly good value for the money. I 
know of no pleasanter or more tasteful reprints.' Academy. ' A real triumph of modern 
publishing.' Pall Mall Gazette. 
bargain.' Truth. ' Wonde- f --"" 
' Remarkable in price and f< 
Saturday Review 



Pall Mall Gazette. ' A marvel of cheapness." Spectator. ' A marvellous 
uth. 'Wonderfully cheap.' Globe. 'A triumph of publishing. 'Bookman. 
in price and format.' Daily Mail. ' Admirable in print, paper, and binding.' 



THE HAY MARKET NOVELS 

Under this heading Mr. JOHN LONG will issue a series of Copyright Novels which, in their 
more expensive form, have achieved success. The volumes will DC printed upon a superior 
antique wove paper, and will be bound in specially designed cover heavily gold blocked at 
back. The size of the volumes will be Crown 8vo., and the price 28. 6d. each. A feature of 
the Series will be a uniform edition of the more popular works of Mrs. LOVETT CAMERON. 

The following are among the first in the Series : 
FATHER ANTHONY (Illustrated) . ROBERT BUCHANAN 
A CABINET SECRET (Illustrated) . Guv BOOTHBY 
AN OUTSIDER'S YEAR .... FLORENCE WARDEN 

FUGITIVE ANNE MRS. CAMPBELL PKABD 

THE FUTURE OF PHYLLIS . . ADELINE SERGEANT 



THE SCARLET SEAL 

A FAIR FRAUD 

A DIFFICULT MATTER . 

THE CRAZE OF CHRISTINA . 

A PASSING FANCY 



DICK DONOVAN 
MRS. LOVETT CAMERON 
MRS. LOVETT CAMERON 
MRS. LOVETT CAMERON 
MRS. LOVETT CAMERON 



BITTER FRUIT MRS. LOVETT CAMERON 

AN ILL WIND .... . MKS. LOVETT CAMERON 
A WOMAN'S 'NO' MRS. LOVETT CAMERON 



JOHN LONG, 13 & M, Norris Street, Haymarket, London 



JOHN LONG'S 

FAMOUS SIXPENNY COPYRIGHT NOVELS 



In Striking Picture Covers, 8 in. by 5, ; in. 



The following are now Ready- 



THE TURNPIKE HOUSE 

THE GOLDEN WANG-HO 

THE SILENT HOUSE IN PIMLICO . 

THE BISHOP'S SECRET . 

THE CRIMSON CRYPTOGRAM . 

A TRAITOR IN LONDON 

WOMAN- THE SPHINX .... 

A WOMAN'S 'NO' . 

A DIFFICULT MATTER .... 

THE CRAZE OF CHRISTINA . 

A PASSING FANCY .... 

BITTER FRUIT ..... 

AN ILL WIND 

AN OUTSIDER'S YEAR .... 

SOMETHING IN THE CITY 

THE LOVELY MRS. PEMBERTON 

THE MYSTERY OF DUDLEY HORNE . 

THE BOHEMIAN GIRLS. . . 

KITTY'S ENGAGEMENT. 

OUR WIDOW 

CURIOS : SOME STRANGE ADVENTURES OF 
TWO BACHELORS .... 
MRS. MUSGRAVE AND HER HUSBAND 
ADA VERNHAM, ACTRESS 
THE EYE OF ISTAR .... 
THE VEILED MAN .... 

A MAN OF TO-DAY .... 
THE SIN OF HAGAR .... 
THE JUGGLER AND THE SOUL 
FATHER ANTHONY .... 
THE WOOING OF MONICA 
THE SIN OF JASPER STANDISH 
A CABINET SECRET .... 
THE FUTURE OF PHYLLIS . 
A BEAUTIFUL REBEL .... 
THE PROGRESS OF PAULINE KESSLER 
IN SUMMER SHADE .... 
GEORGE AND SON .... 

THE SCARLET SEAL .... 
THE THREE DAYS' TERROR . 



FERGUS HUME 
FERGUS HUME 
FERGUS HUME 
FERGUS HUME 
FERGUS HUME 
FERGUS HUME 
FERGUS HUME 
MRS. LOVETT CAMERON 
MRS. LOVETT CAMERON 
MRS. LOVETT CAMERON 
MRS. LOVETT CAMERON 
MRS. LOVETT CAMERON 
MRS. LOVETT CAMERON 
FLORENCE WARDEN 
FLORENCE WARDEN 
FLORENCE WARDEN 
FLORENCE WARDEN 
FLORENCE WARDEN 
FLORENCE WARDEN 
FLORENCE WARDEN 

RICHARD MARSH 
RICHARD MARSH 
RICHARD MARSH 
WILLIAM LE QUEUX 
WILLIAM LE QUEUX 
HELEN MATHERS 
HELEN MATHERS 
HELEN MATHERS 
ROBERT BUCHANAN 
L. T. MEADE 
RITA 

GUY BOOTHBV 
ADELINE SERGEANT 
ERNEST GLANVILLE 
FREDERIC CARREL 
MARY E. MANN 
EDWARD H. COOPER 
DICK DONOVAN 
J. S. FLETCHER 



The following will be ready shortly: 

THE WORLD MASTERS .... GEORGE GRIFFITH 
BENEATH THE VEIL .... ADELINE SERGEANT 
THE BURDEN OF HER YOUTH . L. T. MEADE 

Other Novels by the most popular Authors of the day will be added 
to the Series from time to time 



JOHN LONG, 13 & 1 4, Norris Street, Hayniarket, London 



BILLING AND SONS, LTD., PRINTERS, 



PR Dickberry, F 

6007 The storm of London 

13337 

1905 



PLEASE DO NOT REMOVE 
CARDS OR SLIPS FROM THIS POCKET 

UNIVERSITY OF TORONTO LIBRARY